Sales of € 238 million, EBITDA € 16.9 million and pre-tax profits of around € 14 million were recorded for the first quarter of the year by the Quest group.
According to a relevant announcement, in the ongoing activities, compared to 2021 (excluding Cardlink, which was sold on 30/9/2021), the Group achieved a 16.1% increase in sales, 18.4% in operating profitability. (EBITDA), 21.3% in pre-tax profit (EBT) and 17.5% in net profit after tax (EBA).
Overall (without excluding Cardlink) the Group, compared to 2021, showed an increase of 10.2% in sales, a decrease of 8.1% in operating profitability (EBITDA), earnings before taxes (EBT) at the same levels as last year period and a fall of 8.5% in net profit after tax (EBA). It is noted that the profits after taxes from ongoing activities of 3M2021 also contained extraordinary profits of approximately € 1m, while the figures of 3M2022 contained extraordinary profits of € 1.3m from the sale of minority holdings. Excluding these extraordinary figures, after-tax profit from continuing operations at 3M2022 is about 15% better than last year.
The main Consolidated Financial Results & Figures are presented in the table below and are analyzed in “continuing” and “discontinued” activities (which correspond to Cardlink SA and Cardlink One SA according to IFRS):
The Group’s net cash and cash equivalents (loans) amounted to € 46.4 million compared to € 84.5 million on 31/12/2021. The change is mainly attributed to the distribution of a temporary dividend of € 44.7 million in February 2022. The Group’s investments in the first quarter of 2022 amounted to approximately € 5.5 million. The majority of investments concern the development of the sector’s infrastructure. postal services and the energy sector.
Results for the 2022 quarter by activity:
Commercial Activity (Info Quest Technologies, iSquare, Quest on Line, iStorm, Clima Quest, FoQus): During the first quarter of 2022 there was a double-digit increase in sales (+ 21.9%), while pre-tax profits also increased by double-digit percentage (+ 14.3%) compared to the first quarter of 2021. The strongest increase is observed in sales of Apple products, while on the other hand in e-commerce there is a lag compared to the corresponding quarter last year, when physical stores were closed.
IT Services (Uni Systems Intelli Solutions, Team Candi): In the first quarter of 2022, there was a double-digit increase in sales (+ 13.1%), and a strong double-digit increase in pre-tax profits (+ 74%), as profit margins continued to improve and Intelli Solutions’ earnings were incorporated ( approximately € 1cm). Demand for IT services continued to grow due to the plethora of digital transformation projects in the public and private sectors.
Postal Services (ACS Courier): In the first quarter of 2022 there was a slight decline in sales (-3.7%), which was accompanied by stagnation in pre-tax profits (-0.7%). The stagnation is mainly due to the fall of e-commerce in 2022, as during the corresponding period last year there was a lockdown that significantly increased parcel shipments. In addition, this year’s transport costs increased due to rising fuel prices.
Renewable Energy Production (Quest Energy): During the first quarter of 2022 the company’s sales were increased (8%) as well as pre-tax profits (+ 17%), due to the addition of 2 MW parks and relatively reduced interest rates on loans.
Parent Company Quest Holdings: The revenues of the parent company during the first quarter of 2022 amounted to € 419 thousand in relation to € 397 thousand. the corresponding period last year. The pre-tax profits amounted to a loss – € 245 thousand compared to profits of € 851 thousand in the corresponding period of 2021. The difference is mainly due to the extraordinary profits of approximately € 1 million from the sale of minority holdings in 2021.
Prospects for 2022
The following are estimated in detail for the Group’s activities:
Commercial Activity: For the whole year, a slight increase in revenue is estimated compared to 2021, mainly due to the development of new product categories and maintaining profitability at 2021 levels. , given the rise in energy prices, inflation and the uncertainty surrounding the course of the war in Ukraine.
IT Services: For the whole of 2022, an increase in revenues and profitability is estimated compared to 2021, coming from both Greece and abroad. The acquisition of Intelli Solutions is estimated to add more than € 1.2 million to EBITDA operating profit on an annual basis.
Postal services: For the whole of 2022, similar to slightly increased revenues and similar or slightly lower profitability are estimated, which is mainly affected by the increase in transport costs. And this activity will be affected by a possible recession in the economy and a decline in consumption.
Renewable Energy Production: The company increased its installed base at the beginning of 2022 and now the total installed capacity of the operating solar power plants reaches 30 MW. The gradual implementation of new investments is planned for 2022 and mild growth in all sizes of the company is estimated.
For all the ongoing activities of the Group, it is estimated that the revenues of 2022 will be slightly higher, while the profit margins will remain the same or will be slightly lower compared to last year. The above estimates are made with the assumption that there will be no further negative development in the prices of energy, basic goods and consumption. At the same time, it is noted that the strong commercial and financial position of the Group will allow it to successfully cope with any challenges that may arise.
Finally, it is emphasized that the liquidity of the Group remains strong, with total funds available and financing lines over € 200 million, allowing the smooth continuation of its development plans. It is noted that in February 2022 the Group distributed an interim dividend to shareholders totaling approximately € 45 million (€ 1.25 per share).