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Release no. 10/2020

Acceptable results in Q1 despite operating in COVID-19 unknown territory

Columbus continued the positive development from 2019 into the first two months of 2020 with growth in revenue. However, in March realities changed and the COVID-19 crisis has affected the results for Q1. Columbus are implementing measures to deal with the situation and has full attention on the wellbeing of employees while serving customers digitally.

In Q1 2020, Columbus delivered growth of 6% amounting to revenues of DKK 510m. EBITDA decreased by 12% amounting to DKK 53m and earnings before tax amounted to DKK 28m. Outlook for 2020 and long-term guidance will be released when having a better insight into the impact and temporary market slowdown. 

In accordance with the regulations for listed companies’ submission of interim statements, Columbus A/S hereby submits the interim management statement for the period 01.01.2020-31.03.2020 (3 months).

Growth of 6%

Revenue in Q1 2020 amounted to DKK 510m (Q1 2019: DKK 482m), corresponding to an increase of 6% compared to the same period last year. Organically, Columbus grew by 2%. (isolated for the acquired Advania Business Solutions in Norway). 

EBITDA decreased by 12% to DKK 53m primarily due to onboarding of 190 new employees as part of Columbus growth strategy as well as an increase in bad dept provision. Earnings before tax amounted to DKK 28m, corresponding to a decrease of 21%. Revenue and EBITDA are not significantly impacted by currency fluctuations.

2020 started off with a positive continuation of 2019 with overall revenue growth, despite a decline in our US business unit. In general, all Columbus’ business units came off to a good start where especially Dynamics Sweden and Columbus Care showed strong progress.

“We had a positive start to the year with strong progress overall. I am content that we delivered growth despite a radical change in our business environment. We have managed to rapidly adapt our business to the changing situation, and I want to thank our employees for
showing leadership in this difficult situation as well as our customers for their commitment. We foresee a challenging 2020, however I am confident that we will get through this crisis together
,” says Thomas Honoré, CEO & President in Columbus.

In the beginning of March, we started to see the impact of the global outbreak of the COVID-19 materializing with customers holding back investments or postponing ongoing projects. Especially our retail segment has been negatively affected due to the close down of societies. Retailers with an omnichannel setup are not as badly hit because they can move part of their business online, which in some cases has led to increased demand for digital commerce or analytics services.

As expected, the food segment has experienced a hectic period with increased demand which in some cases has driven increased demand for digitalization, however in other cases the customers have postponed projects due to lack of resources.

Overall, Columbus expects to see a substantial, short-term negative impact on customer demand in the coming period.

According to local government regulations and lockdowns, Columbus has taken steps to ensure the health and safety of our employees, customers and partners while continuing to serve our customers 100% digitally. As we write the Q1 report, all Columbus employees are working remotely from home with full operation capacity globally.

As a leading digitalization company, we have broad experience serving our customers digitally, and we are experiencing a very positive interaction with customers and employees in between in adjusting to remote working routines.

We are able to deliver digitally from early engagement discussions to project initiation, implementation and
application management. We are currently in close connection with our customers to help them continue their operation during this period.

Growth in Columbus Services
The revenue from Columbus Services business increased by 4%. Organic growth is 2%. The main contributor to the growth is the increased sale of Columbus Care services and a general progress in the services business.

Chargeable hours constituted 52% in Q1 compared to 56% in Q1 2019. The decline is primarily due the adjustment to remote working setup in the beginning of March and is also affected by the postponement or cancellation of projects due to COVID-19 situation. Furthermore, the decline is affected by the onboarding of people.

Despite the decline in chargeable hours, the services business delivered overall growth and progress.

Growth in Recurring Revenue
The sale of cloud services grew by 51% due to the increasing conversion to cloud-based solutions. In addition, the sale of Columbus Care services grew by 26%. 

Recurring revenue increased from DKK 106m to DKK 119m, a growth of 12%, which can be explained by good progress in sale of Columbus Care and Cloud. The recurring revenue constituted 23% of the total revenue in Q1 (Q1 2019: 22%).

Columbus Software same level as last year
The revenue from Columbus Software business is at the same level as last year, amounting to DKK 22m.

Columbus Cloud grew by 39%, while sales of Columbus licenses decreased by 23% due to the cloud conversion. Maintenance declined by 6%.

Progress in 9 Doors to Digital Leadership®

In Q1 we launched a Cloud Factory initiative, where we partnered with
Microsoft to conduct an assessment and migrate more large accounts to the cloud. When businesses started seeing the aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Columbus worked proactively to identify offerings that would help businesses keep their lights on.

In line with our commitment to the UN Sustainability Goals, we also launched new offerings on energy and waste management, route optimization, and sustainable operations that will help our customers run are more sustainable operations.

Risk management
In order to address the short-term uncertainty, we have initiated a Business Continuity Plan to mitigate risk and keep our business in good health during this challenging period.

Columbus has executed capacity adjustments across business units to address the temporary decline in demand. In addition, we are closely monitoring the resource allocation and increasing global sourcing.  We have also applied different COVID-19 aid packages around the world to minimize the business impact.

As announced in February, the Executive Board and the Board of Directors have reduced their salaries by 30% for the remaining of 2020. In addition, we have announced a global hiring freeze and other measures.

On the sales and marketing side, we have initiated a range of activities to drive growth despite a changed business structure. We have launched a comprehensive catalogue of services to support our customers in these unusual times that can help them operate remotely and keep their business safe and running, and we are executing global digital marketing campaigns with good traction.  


Expectations for 2020

In the first two months of 2020, we have seen a general growth in our business. Now, realities have changed radically. Due to the current market uncertainty caused by the COVID-19, we expect a negative impact on our business and financial performance in the coming quarters.

Given the rapid day-to-day developments in our main markets, we are currently unable to accurately assess the magnitude of this short-term impact, including the duration of the expected temporary market contraction.

As stated in company release no. 6, 2020, we have therefore decided not to announce the expectations for 2020 and our long-term guidance until we have a better insight into the impact on our business.  
As the situation normalizes, we expect to start picking up in a growing market.

We do expect that the conversion from on-premise solutions to cloud will be growing significantly over the next five years and we also expect digitalization efforts to pick up when the world is settling and returning to more normal modus. However, it is still unclear when and how the investment appetite will fully return.

Columbus is already well positioned and at the forefront in the market within cloud (e.g. Dynamics 365, M3 Cloud Suite) with a well-developed global delivery setup specialized in upgrading customer to a cloud solution

In 2020, cloud will be a prioritized growth opportunity for Columbus, thus helping our customers in the migration to cloud with the up- and cross sell the 9 Doors to Digital Leadership® it entails.

In addition, our focus will be to leverage the opportunities to up- and cross sell the 9 Doors to Digital Leadership® services to the installed customer base. 

Investor presentation

Columbus’ Executive Board will present the results for 2020 at a conference call today at 14:00 CET.

Please use the following dial-in numbers:
Denmark: +45 32720417
UK/international: +44 (0) 2071 928338
US: +1 646 741 3167
Conference ID: 5258489

It is also possible to follow the online webcast via this link:

A recorded version of the presentation will be available on the website after the webcast has concluded:

DKK ´000 YTD 2020 YTD 2019 2019
Columbus Software licenses 2,802 3,649 38,449
Columbus Software subscriptions 13,891 14,775 55,527
Columbus Cloud 5,562 4,009 24,002
External licenses 27,224 17,020 75,153
External subscriptions 45,528 45,861 200,588
External cloud 11,170 7,102 35,511
Services 396,584 379,729 1,468,533
Other 7,350 10,328 33,921
Total net revenue 510,111 482,473 1,931,684
EBITDA before share-based payment 54,505 61,467 243,540
Share-based payment -1,216 -998 -5,470
EBITDA 53,289 60,469 238,070

Latest developments
No events or transactions with a material effect on the company’s financial position have occurred since the balance sheet date.

Ib Kunøe
Columbus A/S


Thomas Honoré
CEO & President
Columbus A/S
For further information, please contact:
CEO & President, Thomas Honoré: +45 70 20 50 00


Income statement

DKK ´000 YTD 2020 YTD 2019 2019
Net revenue 510,111 482,473 1,931,684
External project costs -101,983 -95,827 -437,107
Gross profit 408,128 386,646 1,494,577
Staff expenses and remuneration -301,325 -283,935 -1,136,911
Other external costs -52,302 -41,739 -192,567
Other operating income 14 497 78,474
Other operating costs -10 -2 -33
EBITDA before share-based payment 54,505 61,467 243,540
Share-based payment -1,216 -998 -5,470
EBITDA 53,289 60,469 238,070
Depreciation, amortization and impairment -23,522 -22,092 -178,882
Operating profit (EBIT) 29,767 38,377 59,188
Financial income 544 760 590
Financial expenses -1,972 -3,411 -11,042
Profit before tax 28,339 35,726 48,736
Balance sheet

DKK ´000 YTD 2020 YTD 2019 2019
Goodwill 833,786 935,109 845,774
Customer base 54,221 60,871 50,933
Other intangible assets 10,012 6,289 10,565
Development projects finalized 72,569 71,985 78,852
Development projects in progress 13,813 9,767 6,066
Property, plant and equipment 11,694 23,811 12,248
Right-of-use assets 98,991 101,052 85,927
Deferred tax assets 27,981 22,031 26,737
Other receivables 7,660 7,493 7,466
Total non-current assets 1,130,726 1,238,407 1,124,568
Inventories 0 66 0
Trade receivables 287,477 334,499 307,231
Contract assets 34,899 38,879 28,605
Corporate tax receivables 7,338 7,659 1,360
Deferred tax assets 4,878 7,595 2,812
Other receivables 8,619 19,640 16,564
Prepayments 23,923 23,836 26,113
Receivables 367,134 432,108 382,685
Cash 118,746 114,085 147,264
Total current assets 485,880 546,258 529,949
TOTAL ASSETS 1,616,606 1,784,665 1,654,517
Balance sheet

DKK ´000 YTD 2020 YTD 2019 2019
Share capital 155,778 155,778 155,778
Reserves on foreign currency translation -84,587 -26,475 -40,365
Retained profit 584,531 558,071 549,941
Group shareholders’ equity 655,722 687,374 665,354
Minority interests 2,924 3,281 3,126
Equity 658,646 690,655 668,480
Deferred tax 22,085 20,040 26,296
Other provisions 40,716 14,825 28,635
Contingent consideration 0 219,508 157,850
Debt to credit institutions 169,708 183,230 176,000
Lease liability right-of-use assets 74,460 70,602 58,911
Non-current liabilities 306,969 508,205 447,692
Debt to credit institutions 2,750 13,738 0
Contingent consideration 161,037 87,156 0
Contract liabilities 18,489 25,798 17,727
Trade payables 59,937 75,312 85,618
Corporate tax payables 12,567 5,582 5,127
Other Payables 283,122 263,276 314,141
Accruals 79,446 79,327 82,872
Lease liability right-of-use assets 33,643 35,616 32,860
Current liabilities 650,991 585,805 538,345
Total liabilities 957,960 1,094,010 986,037
TOTAL EQUITY AND LIABILITIES 1,616,606 1,784,665 1,654,517
Segment data

In order to support decisions about allocation of resources and assessment of performance of the segments, the Group’s internal reporting to the Board of Directors of the Parent Company is based on the following grouping of operating segments:

Strategic business areas Description       Geographical segment
ISV (Independent Software Vendor) Development and sale of industry-specific software within Columbus’ three focus industries: Retail, food and manufacturing No specific area
Consultancy Sale, implementation and service of standard business systems. Western Europe
Eastern Europe
North America
Information about the Group’s segments is stated below.
DKK ´000 ISV Western
HQ, GDC and Eliminations Total
YTD 2020            
Columbus Software licenses 1,689 889 254 301 -331 2,802
Columbus Software subscriptions 11,221 4,530 280 1,287 -3,427 13,891
Columbus cloud 4,748 1,696 359 0 -1,241 5,562
External licenses 738 16,189 3,255 6,039 1,003 27,224
External subscriptions 2,422 20,281 4,197 20,174 -1,546 45,528
External cloud 520 4,738 381 4,678 853 11,170
Services 16,907 326,567 27,867 37,712 -12,469 396,584
Other 391 7,176 201 587 -1,005 7,350
Total net revenue 38,636 382,066 36,794 70,778 -18,163 510,111
Gross profit 33,032 300,199 29,029 44,026 1,842 408,128
EBITDA 17,500 45,924 2,009 1,187 -13,331 53,289
DKK ´000 ISV Western
HQ, GDC and Eliminations Total
YTD 2019            
Columbus Software licenses 2,624 1,369 128 390 -862 3,649
Columbus Software subscriptions 12,412 4,213 208 1,282 -3,340 14,775
Columbus cloud 3,102 1,787 118 0 -998 4,009
External licenses 624 10,051 2,360 4,575 -590 17,020
External subscriptions 1,963 19,968 3,515 21,705 -1,290 45,861
External cloud 504 2,599 199 3,800 0 7,102
Services 13,221 306,024 25,506 44,531 -9,553 379,729
Other 236 9,282 435 1,101 -726 10,328
Total net revenue 34,686 355,293 32,469 77,384 -17,359 482,473
Gross profit 30,759 273,728 26,447 49,952 5,760 386,646
EBITDA 15,506 50,845 2,589 1,202 -9,673 60,469


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