19.03.2020 – Zur Rose Group AG

Zur Rose Group maintains growth momentum

Zur Rose Group AG / Key word(s): Annual Results
Zur Rose Group maintains growth momentum

19.03.2020 / 06:45


Press release

2019 operating result

Zur Rose Group maintains growth momentum

- Objectives for the financial year achieved

- Significant revenue growth at 30 per cent

- Number 1 position in Europe reinforced

- Outlook: launch of e-prescriptions in Germany and set-up of a digital
healthcare eco-system, integration and capturing synergies

The Zur Rose Group achieved its communicated objectives for 2019. Revenue
growth of 30 per cent to CHF 1,568.7 million reinforced its clear number 1
position amongst e-commerce pharmacies in terms of revenue in Europe. The
Group used the pioneering legislative decree on the launch of electronic
prescriptions in Germany to set up relevant pilot projects using its proven
proprietary e-prescription technology. Zur Rose expects the market share of
mail-order for prescription medicines in Germany to rise considerably from
the current level of around 1 per cent. It also intends to continue on its
growth trajectory and is stepping up efforts to leverage the opportunities
presented as a result of the low online penetration in the pharmacy market
and increasing digitalisation.

During the year under review, the Zur Rose Group once again kept up growth
momentum, with revenue rising 30 per cent to CHF 1,568.7 million (including
medpex sales). The EBITDA margin was at the lower end of the forecast target
range at minus 1.0 per cent. Several exceptional items affected the results.
Integrating the apo-rot logistics activities at the Heerlen site was more
complex than expected and required a move from two-shift to three-shift
operations that will probably have to remain in place until the new
distribution centre is operational. Initial expenditure for entering the
French market, where the government is planning to allow non-prescription
drugs to be sold by mail order in future, further weighed on profit. By
contrast, transactions related to the two joint ventures set up with Medbase
and the early termination of the earn-out for the founders of medpex had a
positive impact. Adjusting for all exceptional items, operating profit
(EBITDA) remained in line with last year at minus CHF 13.8 million. Net
income declined from minus CHF 39.1 million to minus CHF 52.4 million due to
increased write-offs in connection with the companies acquired.

Major growth in Germany
The Zur Rose Group boosted revenue including medpex sales by a substantial
45.4 per cent to CHF 976.0 in Germany. Construction of the hall in the
logistics extension building at Heerlen in the Netherlands was completed
during the year and fitting out and the installation of equipment has
started. The new distribution centre is expected to come into operation as
planned during the course of 2021. It will allow distribution for the German
market to be centralised in Heerlen, generating considerable efficiencies.
As part of the integration, the Zur Rose Group brought together apo-rot
marketing, services and IT at Heerlen at the end of 2019 and the Hamburg
site was closed. The positive effects of the synergies from this integration
will kick in during 2020.

Proven proprietary e-prescription technology deployed in pilot projects
The launch of electronic prescriptions in Germany marks major progress
towards a fully digital patient care process. During the year under review,
DocMorris set up pilot projects with the German Association of General
Practitioners, the German Association of Specialist Doctors (SpiFa) and
telemedicine provider KRY. These projects involve using the proven
proprietary technology of the Zur Rose Group and the associated app to
network doctors, patients and pharmacies all the way through to billing. The
cooperation with KRY also includes video consultation with a doctor via a
smartphone app. The full acquisition of ClinPath GmbH and the joint venture
eHealth-Tec GmbH, two small companies in digital healthcare solutions,
should be seen in this light. The Group gained access to technical expertise
as a result.

Market position in Switzerland strengthened through cooperations
Despite price cuts mandated by the regulator, Zur Rose was able to increase
revenue in Switzerland by 5.0 per cent to CHF 553.7 million, well ahead of
the modest 2.8 per cent growth in the market. Particular contributions to
revenue growth came from the trend in new clients in the physicians business
and new digital services providing added value to doctors' practices. In the
retail segment, Zur Rose and Medbase decided to extend their cooperation.
Since the start of 2020 they have been running the shop-in-shop pharmacies
in Migros branches and the webshop through two joint ventures: the two
partners are continuing to roll out the shop-in-shop concept that has been
successfully used in Bern, Basel and Zurich under the Zur Rose brand. In the
second joint venture, Zur Rose and Medbase are deepening their cooperation
in e-commerce: they operate zurrose-shop.ch, a joint webshop for consumer
health, beauty and personal care products which offers customers the chance
to collect Cumulus points on purchases. In the medium term the aim is to
operate the webshop as a marketplace where other partners can offer their
products. Zur Rose sees considerable potential for synergies by stepping up
the strategic cooperation.

Ongoing expansion in core European markets
In the Europe segment, which groups together the marketplace business in
Spain and France and around 20 further countries on a cross-border basis,
PromoFarma likewise posted strong revenue growth of 48 per cent to CHF 39.7
million. In February 2019 the Zur Rose Group acquired the French marketplace
Doctipharma, which has now been integrated into the PromoFarma platform. Zur
Rose distributes around 140,000 consumer health, beauty and personal care
products commonly sold in pharmacies from around 7,000 brands over the
marketplace platform; these are provided and dispatched by over 800
partners, mainly pharmacies but also pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Seizing the opportunities in digitalisation
Digitalisation is changing the European healthcare sector. Given the launch
of electronic prescriptions in Germany, the Zur Rose Group anticipates a
considerable expansion in the market share of mail-order for prescription
medicines over the next few years from the current level of just 1 per cent.
In France too, Europe's second-largest market for medicines, there are clear
signs of a move towards liberalisation. In February 2020 the government
announced its intention in a draft law on "Acceleration and Simplification
of Public Trading" to make it easier to sell non-prescription drugs so
online distribution would be possible in future. Both potential changes
would bring about strong momentum favourable to the Zur Rose business model.

Digital transformation with three technology hubs
Zur Rose invested in technology early and is continuing to further extend
its expertise at three technology development centres in Berlin, Winterthur
and Barcelona. These tech hubs stand at the heart of the digital
transformation of the company. In Berlin, DocMorris is putting its platform
strategy into action and will be setting up an open and independent
marketplace for healthcare service providers over the coming months.
Interdisciplinary teams in the tech hubs are also working on developing
digital healthcare services. The main focus is on creating a healthcare
ecosystem networking qualified providers with products and digital services.
The ambition of Zur Rose is to accompany patients and empower them to use
products and digital services to optimally manage their own health.

As the strategic focus is shifting from pure OTC growth to eRx, management
targets sales increase of around 10 per cent in 2020 (including medpex's
total annual sales) and as a consequence overproportional Rx growth
acceleration starting 2021. The aim is to break even in 2020 at the EBITDA
level after adjusting for expenditure on additional growth initiatives,
especially in electronic prescriptions and European opportunities. Any
effect of the Covid-19 virus on the business is not reflected in the
outlook. The medium-term target for the EBITDA margin after adjusting for
growth initiatives is around 8 per cent, with revenue in excess of CHF 3
billion. Implementing the healthcare ecosystem will generate further
relevant EBITDA potential over the long term.

In the context of the Covid-19 situation, securing the supply of drugs has
top priority. In Switzerland, Zur Rose also has a special role to play as
part of the federal government's "Continuity planning for pharmaceutical
care". As a result of the current Covid-19 crisis the Zur Rose Group expects
a much more rapid market acceptance of drug mail order and digital
healthcare services.

   Key financials, in CHF million                        2019       2018
   Net revenue incl. medpex                          1,568.71    1,207.1
   Year-on-year change in %                             30.0%      22.8%
   Net revenue                                        1,355.5    1,207.1
   Year-on-year change in %                             12.3%      22.8%
   Gross margin in % of revenue                         15.4%      15.8%
   Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation        -13.8     -14.02
   and amortisation (EBITDA)
   in % of revenue                                      -1.0%     -1.2%2
   Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT)            -45.7     -32.92
   in % of revenue                                      -3.4%     -2.7%2
   Net operating income                                 -52.4      -39.1
   in % of revenue                                      -3.9%      -3.2%
   Equity                                               405.5      443.6
   in % of total assets                                 40.9%      61.1%
   Investments                                           41.5       31.5
   Number of employees (in full-time equivalents)       1,710      1,314
   at year end
1) As the spin-off of the mail order business has not yet been completed, no
revenues from medpex could be consolidated in 2019.

2) Change in presentation of fair value adjustments of contingent
consideration (earn-out)

The full online 2019 Annual Report can be found at

At 2 p.m. CET today there will be a telephone conference in English for
analysts and the media.
Dial-in numbers: UK: +44 203 009 24 70 | USA: +1 877 423 08 30| DE: +49 69
201 744 210 | CH: +41 44 580 65 22
Conference ID: 12375391#
The associated presentation (without audio) is available at:
Alternatively, the presentation can be followed via live audio webcast using
the following link: us https://webcasts.eqs.com/zurrose20200319

Investors and analyst contact
Marcel Ziwica, Chief Financial Officer
Email: ir@zurrose.com, phone: +41 58 810 11 49

Media contact
Lisa Lüthi, Head of Group Communications
Email: media@zurrose.com, phone: +41 52 724 08 14

16 April 2020 First Quarter Trading Update
23 April 2020 Annual General Meeting
19 August 2020 Half-Year Results
21 October 2020 Q3 Trading Update

Zur Rose Group

The Swiss Zur Rose Group is Europe's largest e-commerce pharmacy and one of
the leading medical wholesalers in Switzerland. It also operates the leading
marketplace in southern Europe for consumer health, beauty and personal care
products commonly sold in pharmacies. The company is internationally present
with strong brands, including Germany's best-known pharmacy brand DocMorris.
Zur Rose employs more than 1,800 people at sites in Switzerland, Germany,
the Netherlands, Spain and France. In 2019 it generated revenue of CHF 1,569
million (including medpex) and has around seven million active customers in
core European markets.

With its business model, the Zur Rose Group offers high-quality, safe and
cost-effective pharmaceutical care. It is also characterized by the
continuous further development of digital services in the field of drug
management using AI-supported applications and new technology. Zur Rose is
furthermore actively driving ahead its positioning as a comprehensive
provider of healthcare services. By creating a digital healthcare platform -
the Zur Rose ecosystem - it networks products and digital services from
qualified providers. The contribution made by Zur Rose will be to take these
offerings to customers and patients and to make a relevant selection. The
aim is to provide people with a seamless accompaniment and empower them to
manage their own health optimally using products and digital solutions.

The shares of Zur Rose Group AG are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange
(securities number 4261528, ISIN CH0042615283, ticker ROSE). For further
information please see zurrosegroup.com.