Rocket Internet's (RCKZF) CEO Oliver Samwer on Q3 2016 Results - Earnings Call Transcript


Rocket Internet AG ORD (OTC:RCKZF) Q3 2016 Earnings Conference Call November 30, 2016 4:00 AM ET


Peter Kimpel - CFO

Oliver Samwer - CEO


Edward Hill-Wood - Morgan Stanley

Stefan Nicola - Bloomberg

Elias Porse - Nordea

Peter Kimpel

Good morning everybody. You've got today on the call Oliver and myself. Oliver will conclude the call with some remarks and will also be available for the Q&A. As we've done for the first half let me first focus on the results of the selected companies and then spend the moment on Rocket Internet SE financials and then give you also an update on terms of where we are on our cash position.

Overall, if you look at Page 4 of the presentation, which we posted on our website this morning. If you look at the aggregate performance of the selected companies, you see again a continued solid performance from a revenue top line growth perspective with about a 30% growth, going up to 1.6 billion for the first nine months of 2016, which has been accompanied by a significant improvement in profitability, both at a margin level as well as most importantly also an absolute level.

So, the adjusted EBITDA margin on average for the selected companies has improved by as half basically from about minus 34% to minus 17.5%, so year-on-year improvement of absolute closer to 17%. That translates into an absolute loss reduction at the adjusted EBITDA level of a €160 million, roughly. So, in the first nine months 2016, we decreased the adjusted EBITDA losses down to 330 million from roughly about 500 million for the first nine month 2015.

So, in a same, very similar picture as we've seen in the first half, you know if you look at Page 5, clearly, which I pointed also out during the first half results, our business is characterized by cyclicality and seasonal impacts. So, what we've seen in the Q3 2016 that is most of the close of our businesses clearly net revenues have been impacted by the weaker summer month in particular July, August, and which is again a normal picture, also when you look back over the last quarters, and also if you look at Q3 2015.

With regards to the key drivers from net revenue perspective, if you look at Page 6, predominantly, the increased net revenue has been driven by our Food & Groceries businesses. So, HelloFresh and Foodpanda which added about €260 million; and then also our fashion business, Global Fashion Group, which added about €150 million in terms of net revenues; Jumia which is now Africa Internet Group i.e., which includes all the other businesses post the merger and the combination of the business from operating perspective under the Jumia brands i.e., includes the classified businesses, the eBay business and eBay like business and the travel business.

And then, we've got the Home & Living business, Westwing and Home24, as we discussed also during the first half, clearly more focus on profitability improvement, less focus on net revenue growth, so adding you know comparatively lower net revenues to the overall picture. So, overall again strong net revenue growth with 1.6 billion reached for the first nine months in 2016.

I don't think we need to spend a lot of time on Page 7. We'll go into the details in terms of growth when we talk about the individual businesses.

So, let's focus on Page 8 and the margin improvements. Similar picture as we've seen in the first half, the adjusted EBITDA margin improvement again of 13 percentage points is across pretty much all companies. So, even all the food businesses, Global Fashion Group also the underlying subsidiaries each one of them seem significant profitability improvements and also Jumia and the Home & Living businesses.

And more importantly Page 9, from our point of view is that we've seen significant improvement in an absolute sense, the absolute losses have been reduced by roughly about a €160 million. The exception, the only company where we invested more this year has been HelloFresh, which is not surprising and was in a very single picture for the first half. That is a very conscious decision to invest in the business both from operating prospective and also the business has been expanding geographically.

For example in to Canada and into Switzerland and continues to focus also on maintaining and gaining market share. And hence the focus is clearly versus some of the other businesses as more still on building out the presence and the market position, rather than focusing on percent of profitability; so, overall again, a very solid picture for the first nine month from aggregate point of view. Let's go now into the different individual businesses.

HelloFresh, again, has shown as we've seen in the first half, attractive growth. If you look at quarter-over-quarter in Q3 2016, the business continues to be roughly on a run rate of about €600 million. So, net revenues of 147 million for Q3 2016, which is a significant uplift from where we were last year. So more than a 7% increase.

Again, keep in mind that Q3 is impacted by the holiday seasons of July and August as they have much higher pause rates; and from that point of view, again an attractive quarter from a top end prospective. What is noteworthy is that, also the business has been able to improve profitability significantly, now having an adjusted EBITDA margin of minus 14%, coming down from 36%, and actually having reduced absolute losses in Q3 versus the losses in Q3 2015.

This is predominantly driven frankly across all the cost items, so it’s really a reflection of the economies of scale. The business is reaching across all the key areas been procurement logistics and production and marketing. We’re now in a position where we spent a lot of capital and effort on two things. Number one, the built out of warehouses in particular in the U.S. and UK, which are going to be operational by the end of the year, so significant investment into expansion of the capacity which probably the basis for future growth.

And the second point, which we’ve discussed also in the H1 call, is the fact that the business is now offering choice in pretty much every region. So, customers can now choose from different meals, so they don’t have to eat what has been unnecessarily offered, but they choose from some regions up to 10 different meals. And hence, that is something which we think significantly improves the customer proposition, and the business will continue over the 12 to 18 months to work on the product offering and also additional products.

So, again from operational prospective, both you know production, logistics as well as product offering significant improvements on the first nine months of this year, which we believe we can also show going forward. So, very solid performance and in line with what we had communicated with very beginning of the year.

Delivery Hero, we didn’t talk about as part of our first half financials on Page 11. We’ve given view and now an update as we've done in the previous quarters on some of the top line key metrics. Across the board, they've grown between 60% and roughly about 70%. So, orders have gone more than 70% to roughly about a 130 million in the first nine months. GMV roughly about 60%; and revenues have grown nearly 70% up to close to 230 million for the first nine months 2016, so continued strong performance.

Niklas, the CEO of the Delivery Hero has been on the record lately that the business is now the core business i.e., excluding premium segment is profitable, so again overall, both from a top line perspective as well as from a profitability perspective, significant improvement.

So moving onto next delivery business, food delivery business, Foodpanda, that those numbers just to be on Page 12, just to be very clear, those numbers exclude now Delivery Club, which is the Russian business, which we sold to for $100 million. So, this is on a pro forma basis excluding the Russian business where we see is continued revenue growth. In particular, if you look at on a constant currency basis, the business has nearly doubled over the last Q3 versus -- the last 12 months of Q3 2016 over 2015.

So, it continues to scale rapidly which is also seen in the improved gross profit margins and also in the significant improvement in the adjusted EBITDA, which is now less than half, if you compare Q3 2016 with Q3 2015, coming down from $28 million down to $30 million. So, again the market positions here we continued to careful and we are watching in a very careful and competitive environment which is seen a new care entering like Uber is particular also in Southeast Asia to which we expect also some of the continental European markets. And so, we are looking -- we are looking and we are monitoring the situation very carefully. But so far again a very solid performance both at the top line as well as the profitability level of Foodpanda over the last nine month.

A Global Fashion Group on Page 13, you may have listened to the earnings call of [Indiscernible] who presented financials end of last week. The business on Page 13 is now on a run rate of approximately about €1 billion that excludes India. As you know, we sold the Jabong business to Flipkart for $70 million. The business, the main contributors of the business maintained to be Lamoda, our Russian and Eastern European business. Dafiti, the Latin American business and so on the iconic Namshi again has grown to a significant business with roughly about $130 million run rate of revenues. So overall, if you look at the consolidated performance, business has done well again a growth rate of roughly about 27% on a quarter-over-quarter basis; if you look at on a constant FX basis more like 16%, so very solid growth.

In particular, again as we said also in the first half, keeping in mind the significant macro and then also the related retail challenges in particular for the businesses in Russia, Eastern Europe, Dafiti in Lat America also now increasingly that you've seen a second also at the Namshi business in the Middle East which clearly with the micro environment has been significantly impacted by the effects of the low oil price, the continued low oil price.

From a margin perspective, the business continues to execute well, driven by effective inventory managements. So, we’ve seen the gross profit margin being again above 40%. So, on a consolidated basis gross profit margin Q3 was 41.4%, which has also been relatively scale effect also and drove down the negative EBITDA margin, nearly half or more than half from minus 27% to minus 13% translating also in a significant reduction in absolute losses quarter-over-quarter. The business continues to be very well capitalized as a result of the funding round earlier this year as well as again the proceeds from the $70 million, proceeds from the Jabong transaction.

So, overall, a good execution, solid growth on a total consolidated basis. Let me spend a couple of minutes on each individual business. Lamoda, again I think for the overall macro environment and retail environment, a good performance. If you look at it on the constant FX basis, growth has been about 30%, roughly about 34% for Q3 where you have seen an impact from the stronger macro environment and weaker retail environment at the gross margin level, which is declined slightly, and but nevertheless business from adjusted EBITDA margin basis continues to improve and in a relatively weak seasonal quarter has continued to improve for minus 19% to minus 14%.

So, overall again, a very solid performance in Russia and Eastern Europe, which is similar at the Dafiti, which continues to from a top line basis also be impacted and also it’s been focusing more from operating perspective more on the integration of the two businesses Tricae and Kanui, which clearly again has taken a lot of line share for management. So, like-for-like growth more has stacked. So, if you exclude the effects of conveying to time at the same time, you see the effects of the mix as well as the focus of the management team on profitability, you see both at the gross margin and particularly also at the adjusted EBITDA margin level. So, gross margins have improved significantly in the third quarter, up to more than 45% and to the adjusted EBITDA has gone from minus 22% last year to minus roughly about 2.5% this year.

So, overall again, very solid performance with limited growth, but much more focus on margin improvements, which is shown both at the gross margin as well as the adjusted EBITDA margin level. Namshi clearly had slow growth in the top line, so Q3 over 2016 versus 2015 growth of 14%. If you look at on a constant FX of 11% from Q3, it’s a solid growth keeping in mind that the most people, as if Europe have missed to the headlines of dominated by Russia and Latin America, but not by Middle East, but the Middle East definitely has been significantly impacted by weak oil price.

And we've seen a significant deterioration of the macro environment because we see increasing competition in the online retail landscape, so that has impacted growth. And nevertheless, the business has been able to maintain very healthy gross margins roughly about 54% and also having shown achieved in consecutive quarter of adjusted EBITDA profitability and shown a positive margin of roughly about 3% in Q3 2016, so again very solid performance for a very difficult overall market environment.

Zalora, which includes on page 18, which includes The Iconic, which is the Australian business continues to grow on a solid basis with roughly about more than 20%, focusing also on profitability which was shown both of the gross margin levels as well as adjusted EBITDA, having improved to nearly 40% gross margins in Q3 and more than happening the adjusted EBITDA margin down to 24% negative, which translated in the significant improvement of roughly about 10 million, savings on a quarterly basis in Q3 of adjusted EBITDA.

So, business continues to do well where we consolidated the warehouse activities and we’ve also sold some of the regional business this year. So, overall again business is focused on the percent of execution, but it’s clearly trading a little bit of other three businesses in terms of performance. But again that's very similar and consistent with message, which we’ve given in the first half this year.

Now, let’s move on to Jumia. To be sure in case people are comparing, so historical this leads now the numbers for Jumia, which is the Africa Internet Group. As you recall in the first half call, we mentioned that Jumia now includes and we rebranded all of the individual activities online classifieds and travel et cetera under one brand, which business has been performing over the last six months. And the numbers are now reflective also of those businesses, which will include not only the general merchandise business, but all the other business as well.

Clearly, Jumia has been impacted also significantly by the macroeconomic environment, but also by a greatly weakening Nigerian Naira. So, the local currency has declined by more than 50%, which give you on Euro basis has had a significant impact. So, the more on the general merchandise business, we have aggressively moved the business away from inventory model to a market base model, so the combination of the macro/FX impact plus move in to the marketplace -- the marketplace model has had a significant impact on net revenues. So, we’ve seen a significant decline.

And as we’ve always said, Africa is probably for all the businesses at the earlier stage. So, we’re not looking at this with three or six month horizon, but this is a longer term project and will be subject to continued volatility in particular for the facing adverse macroeconomic environments. So, but the business again focused 100% on execution, building out with these individual businesses. They launched payment service in Nigeria on the travel side. They now include also flight, so operating prospective doing very well. But clearly, the numbers are reflecting the more challenging macroeconomic environment and retail environment in Africa generally.

Now, spending a moment on our Home & Living businesses, Westwing and Home24. Westwing again had a very solid quarter, net revenue growth of roughly about 13% for the first nine month and 23% in Q3. Just word of caution Q3 2015 was a relatively weaker quarter last year, so it has a base effect. So, I wouldn't extrapolate the growth for the next couple of quarters, so Q3 again 2015 was characterized by some extraordinary effects and wasn't, I think reflective off where the business could have or should have been. So, we have a lower base and we probably would have like that which we again translate into higher growth. So, we would have not expected above 20% growth in the next couple of quarters for that business.

I said this business continues to focus as we’ve always said on the path of profitability, so we've improved significantly the adjusted EBITDA margin. If you look at the first nine month, coming from minus 30% to roughly about 9% and into the season weaker quarter about less than half more than to negative margin from minus 25% to roughly about 11% negative. So which is a reflection of improvement across the value chain and all the processes with warehouses, which is fixed procurement customer care marketing et cetera. So, overall, very solid performance both from a top line perspective, but in particular focusing on the path to profitability hence so quite happy with the performance of Westwing.

As we discussed in the first half call Home24 is at a later stage in terms of that process, so growth has been on a constant FX basis below 10% roughly about 6% in the first nine months. Q3 is always also for Westwing traditionally impacted by the lower summer season, and nevertheless business has shown significant improvement in profitability both at the gross margin level as well as in adjusted EBITDA level, roughly about half mainly adjusted EBITDA. So, we will see continued focus on this, and Home24 is working on the overall proposition which will hopefully translate an improved performance over the next couple of quarters.

Now, this concludes the summary on the individual selected companies, which impart includes financials which we are now publishing as part of the -- being part of the prime standard. We will also show the Rocket Internet SE financial for Q1 and Q3 on a nine month basis, and what we see is on Page 23, the numbers are predominantly impacted from the impacts which we've already seen in the first half i.e. impacts of the funding round of GFG. The only reason why we have a slightly higher loss is that we are clearly also in Q3 picking up our share of the losses of the companies we just talked about. Other than that, the numbers are pretty much very similar to the ones which we've shown before. So, in essence, no news from a consolidated basis and again the focus in our mind should be on the financials of the selected companies.

With regards to our cash position, as we've already talked about, we want to maintain continuous strong cash positions. So at the operating companies, they roughly have about 1.1 billion and the gross cash at Rocket Internet is about 1.6 billion which translates roughly into an income 1.2 billion net cash position.

With that, I will hand over to Oliver for some final closing remarks before we go into Q&A.

Oliver Samwer

Thank you very much on for my side for joining this morning. Let me reiterate a couple of things Peter highlighted. Our selected large companies are continuing to execute well. We continue to see an improvement in profitability both for the margin basis, but most importantly also on an absolute basis. We continue to operate some of the companies in very challenging retail and macroeconomic environment for example in LatAm, in Russia, in the Middle East and in Africa.

And despite those headwinds, the companies continue to execute well. Furthermore, keep in mind that quarter three for all consumer-based internet models is usually characterized by the seasonal impact of the holiday season in July and August and business in general slows down. We continue to be very well capitalized so that we can capture future opportunities. 2016 has been an important year because we made progress on growth. We made progress on positive profitability.

We still have sufficient cash and the increased transparency. Also we achieved the uplifting to the prime standard and have recently been added to the SDAX, which can clearly only being an intermediate goal. Our focus for the rest of 2016 and also for 2017 remaining on delivery in growth, path towards positive, having strong cash balance sheet and increasing transparency. So we remain very-very focused in execution and delivery of results as we continue to invest in and build new businesses.

Operator, please open now for any questions.

Question-and-Answer Session


Dear participants, now we will begin our question-and-answer session. The first question is from Mr. Edward Hill-Wood. Your line is now open.

Edward Hill-Wood

Good morning, everyone. So I’ve got two questions. Firstly, on HelloFresh, just looking at the direct through business into Q4 since the slow growth in Q3, could you give us an idea what type of behavioral differences you've seen in Q4 and Q3? And maybe some idea about the resident growth rate between the different regions and just in color in terms of whether or not the increasing choices for the having impact in terms of the retention rates in terms of your earliest estimate of that? And secondly, on Delivery Hero, could you just give us another update please on how the relative performance is going in Germany? Thank you.

Oliver Samwer

So, let me comment on the two companies. I think overall Q4 is usually a more active quarter than Q3. I mean in Q3 many people are on vacation, and so they closed the service because they don’t want to food deliver when they on vacation obviously. And we do not give guideline basically guidance to for Q4, but I think the Company is on track to live a strong growth this year. And at the same time, I think the Company is equally focused on the unit economics, and I think that you can also clearly see the path to profitability for this company. I think the individual improvements and the customer experiences with meals new choices that people can choose more meals. I think we’ve seen very interesting and very positive adoption methods.

I think we do not make any comments with regard to loyalty retention, repeat customers and so on. I think overall, the more you invest in the customer experience, you will meet the benefits long term. And secondly, with regards to Delivery Hero, I think you've seen in the overall numbers that the Company continues to do very well. I think it has across the world in many- many markets a very strong position. It is the market leader in Germany. And I think at the right point of time, the Company will speak for itself, and I think as you know we have been limited the information through the meal because I think the Company wants to communicate that themselves and I think that what I recommend to watchout.

Peter Kimpel

So when we said on HelloFresh is at the beginning of the year we said versus last year, we expect to see very high double digit growth. So, they're on track to hitting that and so no change in sort of that overall annual guidance.

Edward Hill-Wood

So, is it possible that the fourth quarter growth rate is higher year-on-year than the third quarter growth rate?

Oliver Samwer

I think that’s not speculate, I think this is very good company. I think we would broad that refer to the historic data from you to extrapolate company. I think what Peter said a very high double-digit growth rate is something we feel is a very feasible.


The next question comes from [Indiscernible]. Your line is now open.

Unidentified Analyst

Good morning, everyone. Well my question is twofold. Last week Deutsche Börse Group announced the new segment for small-and medium-sized companies, which would start next year. I would like to know whether you think that’s a good idea and helpful idea maybe for future, I feel the brokers companies on one hand, but also in the more general sense for the German start up seen while in general?

Oliver Samwer

I think I met last week with CEO of Deutsche Börse and discussed more another things of this segment. I think this segment is a big step because I think it provides a liquid market for younger growth company as in earlier stage. So, I think on the general macroeconomic and overall for the country, I think it’s very good [Indiscernible]. With regard to Rocket, most of all companies are way too large for that segment. But I think in our smaller companies there might be individual teams that will appreciate that opportunity, and I think we will be looking at this market and development of the next month.

And then individual companies may decide to tap in that market. For next many years of this market to exit, I think we won’t be the first, we won’t be the last. We will look at this market and if it makes sense for the mutual companies. In general, we do not comment on any idea or plan for the any companies as you’ve seen in this whole year 2016, I think we focused the first quarter on delivering four things gross profit, profitability, strong best balance sheet and transparency. I think you can’t see it in the second quarter, you can’t see it in the third quarter, and I think that is our only as whole focus rest of 2016 and all of 2017. Operator, there are any more questions


Yes. The next question is from Mr. Stefan Nicola, Bloomberg. Your line is now open.

Stefan Nicola

Good morning, everyone. I’m wondering, if you could say bit more about the Rocket Internet capital partner the close that you all sort of disclosed in the press release maybe say a bit about why that was held and sort of who participated? Thanks a lot.

Oliver Samwer

So, we have -- we see strong interest in our fund. The fund is a core investment fund that invest in certainly shift together with Rocket. We’ve made the number of early stage investments together. And it’s basically our third close, and the investors in our fund are very well-known institutional investors from around the world Europe, United States, Middle East and parts of the world. And we obviously do not publish any regional investor, but we feel very confident about level of trust that we see from those partners and our investments together.


The next question is from Elias Porse. Your line is now open.

Elias Porse

Good morning, Elias Porse from Nordea. I have a question on our LPV reporting and you’re late high, you only have LPVs for six holding versus 10 in your last LPV reporting, and I can't find anything on the other assets in this just could you tell us anything about that? Thank you.

Oliver Samwer

As you've see over the many, over this year here, I think we’ve been focusing all our attentions connecting to focus on the larger companies and I think provide more and more data on them. At the same time, this being phasing out basically out most of kind of life care, the big other companies are the less basically focused on funding around valuations et cetera. And therefore basically, we build in a future report potentially different metric for individual younger companies may be the total investment or other value or data point, but not focus so much on last coming around. I think when companies out of that group of smaller companies become significant, we will basically list them up and hopefully be able to provide data of the time of Delivery Hero or even data of the kind of HelloFresh, depending on what certain conventionality shareholder agreements would allow us.

Elias Porse

Okay great, could you give us total number on the LPV on the other assets except for the seven that you do report just an aggregate number? Thank you.

Oliver Samwer

At this point of time, we do not give one total number. I think as we said basically we want to focus more on other KPIs in the future as for example total investment and basically companies to move in up to financial, and we move them up to that everybody can provide new financial data.


We have one more question it is from [Indiscernible]. Your line is now open.

Unidentified Analyst

The first one is on cash and I was wondering, if there was any final thing that settled in the third quarter, and if so, how that affected the cash balance? And the second question is on the sequential development compared to the year before. I mean Q3 versus Q2 because it seems to looking at last year that the trend was more flattish while in this financial year, it is showing some down trend, both at the top line and at profit level. So, is it because you’re stepping up the investments? And can you maybe tell us what we should expect in going forward? Thank you.

Oliver Samwer

So the first question just to understand, the question was whether from a cash prospective, was there anything that has settled? Do you mean any investment that is settled in Q3 or what is the--

Unidentified Analyst

Any financing ground that affected your cash balance in Q3 compared to the second quarter?

Oliver Samwer

Yes, there was the settlement also of a portion of the GFG ground for example which impacted that. With regards to the sequential, I think you're referring probably to the Slide 5, so the part of the figure chart in terms of how the net revenue development has been. But I think if specially look at Q3 versus Q2 2015, we also saw a decrease in net revenues, which again is an impact of the seasonality of pretty much all the businesses which we have. Clearly, this year also we've seen an additional impact for example from Jumia as a result of the effects which we've seen the minus 60 million, which is the combination of the change in business model as well as the weakening macro environment the effects of impact, which had an additional impact in Q3 2016.

With regards to the adjusted EBITDA, clearly, there has been also an additional -- we've seen additional also investments in build out of infrastructure in a couple of our businesses, which has a slight impact whilst in Q3. Last year, we've seen some improvement. But also don't forget that last year, Q2 2015 was probably in terms of overall cash or the negative EBITDA was probably one of the worst quarters as well. So, you were talking about the different basis in terms of improvement, so this year we are, Q2 2016 was not quite half of the negative losses of Q3 2015. So, you're talking also about the different basis effect. Overall, the first and foremost the impact has been from seasonality in Q3 2016.


We have another question from [Indiscernible]. Your line is now open sir.

Unidentified Analyst

Good morning, I have a question regarding HelloFresh. What would be the target had to meet so that the Company goes to 290?

Oliver Samwer

So, we do not comment on regional IPO plans and therefore do not the target. I think basically the Company has achieved a significant scale with the largest company of its scale operating in many countries. I think the Company is from a financial compliance very progressed. I think as we say basically the companies themselves will decide at some point of time, if a public market listing makes sense, and then they will look at the market. And I think if the market is also there then they might decide that. And I think we will view ourselves to not comment on IPO plans, but focus on execution and growth and path to profitability.

Peter Kimpel

And Kelsey [ph] I think it's also that it goes hand in hand what the capital markets expect of the Company versus what the Company delivers, so it's really a combination of the two. So, even in our minds, it's capital markets dependent on what is expected of a company, both in terms of size and stage. And it's less dependent on the Company, so it's very difficult to give a target.

Unidentified Analyst

Could an IPO [Indiscernible] a catalyst for you?

Oliver Samwer

I think the Company will go to market, however, I think most of it I think will be company efficient. I think there're many things that can be catalysts. I think other companies and same size proving out the model in a similar way. I think it's obviously for the size.


As there are no further questions at the movement, I hand back to you gentlemen.

Peter Kimpel

Okay. I think, thank you very much from our side. I think have you seen, I think the focus that you've started in 2015 on making our business is based on their strong market position, engaging on a profitability, has been in my view delivered Q1, has been delivered in Q2, has been delivered in Q3. I would not over estimate that through now I view the slide Q3 little less than Q2, again this is more seasoned. I think we're on a good path. I think we do not expect any extraordinary negatives or positives. I think our focus is to very much deliver without too many surprises on our path also in 2017. Thank you very much.

Oliver Samwer

Thank you very much. Have a good day.

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