First-half 2020-2021 results

31 Mar 2021

Continuing strong growth and a very significant improvement in profitability


  • Revenue of €278 million, up 25% at constant exchange rates (+17% like-for-like)
  • Operating profitability more than doubles with EBITDA reaching €23 million (+107%) or 8.3% of revenue
  • Net income multiplied by 7 to €11 million
  • Record cash position of €118 million, supported by strong operating cash flow generation of €40 million


The condensed interim consolidated financial statements for the half-year period ended December 31, 2020 were approved by the Board of Directors on March 31, 2021. The limited review procedures for the interim financial statements have been completed, and the limited review report will be issued after the verification of the half-year financial report is completed.


More than any year to date, 2020 marked a pivotal milestone in the economy’s digital transformation. Our diversified market position in the B2C1 segment, based largely on a freemium business model2 allowed us to fully benefit from the economy’s rapid digital development within a health context we have been experiencing already for one year.

In this context, Claranova achieved record performances in H1 2020-2021 with continuing strong revenue growth, up 25%3 to €278 million, but above all a very significant improvement in operating profitability with EBITDA4 of €23 million. Operating profitability more than doubled in relation to last year’s first half, already exceeding the total annual amount of EBITDA achieved by Claranova over the entire 2019-2020 fiscal year. Similarly, the Group’s net profitability5 grew by a multiple of seven to reach the historic level of €11 million. These performances are the result of work accomplished over the last few years to strengthen our positions in high-potential digital segments and build resilient business models for each of our divisions.

Our growth potential remains considerable. We are more than ever confident in our ability to maintain this trend of profitable growth and reaffirm our goal to achieve annual revenue of €700 million and an EBITDA margin above 10% by 2023.

Pierre Cesarini, Chairman and CEO of Claranova Group


Claranova remained on track with strong and balanced growth in H1 2020-2021 (July-December 2020), with revenue of €278 million (+25% at constant exchange rates) accompanied by a sharp improvement in profitability. EBITDA, the main operating performance indicator, more than doubled in the first half (+107%), in line with guidance issued when revenue was published on February 10, 2021. Operating profitability reached €23 million6, increasing the EBITDA margin to 8.3%, up from 4.8% one year earlier.


This significant rise in EBITDA achieved by each of Claranova’s divisions highlights:

  • the potential profitability of the personalized e-commerce businesses (PlanetArt) during a period of limited marketing investments;
  • the successful transition from a software publishing business model (Avanquest) into a higher margin proprietary software subscription-based model (SaaS7);
  • the significant reduction in the operating losses of the IoT businesses (myDevices).


In line with the improvement in EBITDA, Net Income increased sevenfold in H1 2020-2021 to reach €11 million. This first half also confirmed the Group’s strong cash flow generation with a net inflow from operating activities of €40 million. On that basis, Claranova’s gross cash position increased 29% in relation to December 31, 2019 to a record level of €118 million, resulting in net cash (cash net of financial debts) of €47 million.


PlanetArt: a solid first half, highlighting the potential profitability of the personalized e-commerce businesses

With €234 million in revenue and €19 million in EBITDA, PlanetArt continued to deliver robust growth (+32% at constant exchange rates), accompanied by a very sharp rise in operating profitability in the first half of 91%. This positive trend for EBITDA is the result of an ever-increasing demand in the markets addressed by PlanetArt which continues to strengthen its competitive position worldwide, year after year. It also reflects the more limited marketing investments during the year-end holiday period where the traditional pressure on the supply chain was reinforced by the public health situation. This in turn further boosted online consumption from which PlanetArt fully benefited.


This first half also confirmed the good integration of the Personal Creations businesses acquired in August 2019 (under Chapter 11). Personal Creations posted double-digit growth with a structurally improved profitability profile in the first half of the year8,9. FreePrints Gifts application experienced a very successful launch in the United States: with over 700,000 downloads since its launch at the start of the year, and an average score of 4.8/510 stars, FreePrints Gifts is off to a promising start. Its ramp-up will allow us to further monetize of our global FreePrints installed based with strong margins associated to FreePrints Gifts products.


Avanquest: profitability of businesses reinforced by focusing on proprietary software publishing and subscription sales


Avanquest, Claranova’s software publishing business, is continuing to shift its focus to a higher margin proprietary software subscription-based business model (SaaS) which has contributed to a significant improvement in EBITDA from €4 million to €5 million, an increase of 31%.


This transition continues to limit revenue growth in the first half, which registered a marginal decrease of 4% at constant exchange rates (-9% at actual exchange rates). The momentum for the subscription-based sales of proprietary software, and notably PDF document management (Soda PDF) and photo editing tools (InPixio), both with double-digit growth in H1, offset in part the planned decrease by Avanquest’s non-strategic businesses which include physical software sales, non-proprietary software sales and sales by channel partner networks which are now internalized.


The EBITDA margin rose significantly from 8.0% as a percentage of revenue in last year’s first half to 11.5%. With recurring sales now accounting for 56% of revenue compared to 42% in the prior year’s first half, the profitability of the publishing software business will continue to improve as this percentage increases.


myDevices: business remains resilient even as the pandemic slows the pace of the rollout


Revenue from Claranova’s IoT businesses remained stable at €2 million, up 4% at constant exchange rates, within a context of slower deployment observed since the beginning of the pandemic in myDevices’ main industry sectors (hospitality services, catering, hospitals, offices, etc.). Waiting for rollout to resume, losses registered in the first half were contained with myDevices’ EBITDA representing a loss of €1.0 million, up from a €3 million loss in last year’s first half.


The positive business momentum prior to the health crisis should gradually resume as the situation gradually returns to normal and activity recovers as expected in the main industries covered by the myDevices solutions, especially as this crisis has emphasized the importance of IoT to the indispensable digitalization of use cases in those segments.


A new record for cash (€118 million), boosted by operating cash flow generation (€40 million)


Claranova ended H1 2020-2021 with a closing cash position of €118 million as of December 31, 2020, i.e. a €35 million increase compared to June 30, 2020. This increase was bolstered by net inflows from operating activities of €40 million which included €23 million from operations and €21 million from changes in working capital requirements, reflecting the growth of PlanetArt (organic and external), the seasonal nature of these businesses (significant activity during year-end festivities generating an exceptional peak in cash flow at the end of December) and the business model (B2C distribution which naturally generates negative working capital requirements). Net cash flows used in investing activities and from financing activities remained limited representing an outflow of €4 million and an inflow of €3 million respectively.


A financial position that remains very solid with positive net cash position of €47 million


Claranova’s financial position remains particularly sound with cash position of €118 million and financial debt of €71 million (excluding the impact IFRS 16 on the recognition of leases), resulting in net cash of €47 million as at December 31, 2020.