Results Review

Key figures

in CHF million (unless otherwise indicated)

FY 2020

FY 2019

% change

% change at CCY 1






Adjusted 2





Gross profit from Software & Cloud



–7.5 %

–1.9 %

Gross profit from Solutions & Services



16.5 %

23.9 %

Gross profit



–1.7 %

4.4 %

Operating expenses



–2.3 %

4.0 %




–0.2 %

5.1 %

EBITDA margin

30.6 %

30.1 %

0.5 pp


EPS (diluted)



–7.4 %







IFRS reported





Net cash generated from/(used in) operating activities





Net debt / (net cash)





Net working capital (after factoring) at period-end










Headcount (in FTE, end of period) 3



14.3 %


1)   In constant currency; Further information can be found under Alternative Performance Measures

2)  Further information can be found under Alternative Performance Measures 

3) Excluding 1,450 FTEs related to the full acquisition of Intergrupo, which were integrated in early 2021

Overall solid performance during Covid-19 pandemic

According to Gartner, overall global IT and enterprise software spend declined by 3.2% and 2.4%, respectively, in 2020 as CIOs prioritized spending on mission-critical technology and services, particularly during the initial stages of the Covid-19 pandemic. In this environment, SoftwareONE delivered solid results, driven by the strength of its business model and high degree of diversification across customers, sectors and geographies.

Total revenue corresponded to CHF 7,906.3 million in 2020, up 6.4% and 0.6% YoY in constant and reported currency, respectively.

Gross profit increased by 4.4% YoY in constant currency, totaling CHF 729.6 million in 2020, corresponding to a decline of 1.7% in reported currency. The negative currency translation effect was due to an appreciation of the Swiss franc (CHF), primarily against the EUR, USD, GBP, BRL, MXN and INR.

Acquisitions made during 2020 contributed approximately CHF 7 million to gross profit growth.

Performance by business

Software & Cloud

Gross profit from Software & Cloud decreased 1.9% YoY in constant currency, totaling CHF 519.5 million in 2020. As a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, customers experienced rapid and unforeseeable changes to their technology needs and operations throughout 2020. SoftwareONE’s portfolio resonated well with customers, with heightened demand for remote enablement, collaboration, cost optimization and cloud-based management. Offsetting this positive impact was weakness in purchasing by SMEs who became more cautious regarding discretionary or one-off transactions which are typically project-related. While some improvement in purchasing levels was seen in mid-2020, the re-introduction of lock-downs later in the year negatively impacted customers’ decision-making.


SoftwareONE’s Microsoft business developed well in 2020 driven by strong renewals and growing demand for Microsoft’s software and cloud products. Microsoft Cloud billings, comprising 365, Azure and Dynamics, grew double-digit compared to the prior year while On-premise declined. By customer segment, large enterprises performed well and public sector organizations showed exceptional strength in billings growth, although the latter represent a smaller portion of SofwareONE’s business. Meanwhile, SMEs – which typically serve as the group’s growth and profitability engine – reduced their spend significantly in 2020.

The shift to ‘pay-as-you-go’ subscriptions from multi-year agreements, which SoftwareONE captures with its ‘X Simple’ bundles such as 365Simple and AzureSimple, continued very strongly. While positive in terms of promoting closer customer relationships and attaching services, this development also adversely affected results due to (i) less revenue recognized upfront and (ii) the entire services component (i.e. customer mark-up for the managed service and PyraCloud) being booked under Solutions & Services.


SoftwareONE’s multi-vendor business includes many market-leading software companies, including Adobe, AWS, Citrix, Google Cloud, Oracle, Red Hat, VMware, Sophos, Symantec and Veeam. While purchasing behavior varied greatly depending on the type of software, SoftwareONE generally saw healthy growth in mission-critical software, with some weakness related to discretionary or project-related offerings in 2020.

Solutions & Services

Solutions & Services achieved strong gross profit growth of 23.9% YoY in constant currency to CHF 210.1 million in 2020. This result includes a gross profit contribution from InterGrupo of approximately CHF 5 million following its consolidation from November 2020 onwards, as well as less than CHF 2 million related to other acquisitions.

While professional services experienced some deferrals in the Covid-19 environment, managed services enjoyed strong renewals and growth as customers sought out trusted partners to help them operate their technology environment in the cloud and drive their long-term digital transformation journeys.

Offerings such as 365Simple and AzureSimple also contributed meaningfully to growth in 2020, with the entire services and platform component of these bundles being booked under Solutions & Services.

During 2020 SoftwareONE continued to expand its hyperscaler offering to include AWS and Google Cloud-related services to support customers with their multi-cloud strategies.

Performance by geography

On a geographical basis, performance varied depending on the extent of lockdown measures, as well as other disruptive events during 2020. EMEA (67.3% of 2020 gross profit), APAC (11.3%) and LATAM (7.0%) delivered strong growth at gross profit level in constant currency, while NORAM’s (14.4%) development was subdued.

Investments across strategic growth areas

Total adjusted operating expenses increased by 4.0% YoY in constant currency to CHF 506.5 million in 2020, excluding share-based compensation, IPO, integration and M&A and earn-out expenses which amounted to CHF 35.1 million in total.

The development of SoftwareONE’s cost base reflected the successful realization of Comparex synergies and Covid-19-related savings due to lower expenses for travel and physical marketing events, which amounted to approximately CHF 38 million in total. Along with lower variable compensation, these savings provided scope for re-investment into strategic growth areas.

New hires included sales and technical pre-sales, professional and managed services delivery personnel, as well as specialists in digital transformation services such as application modernization, critical workload migration and security. The additional personnel expenses relating to these hires amounted to approximately CHF 34 million in 2020. Furthermore, substantial investments were made in scaling bolt-on acquisitions, which in their current phase produced a contribution margin significantly below that of SoftwareONE on a group level. Despite the short-term impact on EBITDA margin, these investments are expected to contribute meaningfully to driving long-term growth.

The number of FTEs, excluding the acquisition of Intergrupo, stood at 6,219 as at 31 December 2020. Including Intergrupo, the number of FTEs increased to approximately 7,700.

With regards to the integration of Comparex, SoftwareONE achieved run-rate cost synergies of CHF 32.5 million by 31 December 2020, in line with its guidance to deliver 80-85% of the targeted cost synergies earlier than expected. The full CHF 40 million of targeted cost synergies is expected to be achieved by the end of 2021.

Adjusted EBITDA increased 5.1% YoY at constant currency to CHF 223.1 million, implying a margin of 30.6% in 2020, impacted by a higher cost base driven by the above-mentioned strategic investments.

Adjusted profit for the period was CHF 125.7 million in 2020, representing a decrease of 6.3% YoY in reported currency.

IFRS reported profit for the period increased 41.4% YoY in reported currency to CHF 176.8 million in 2020. This result includes the aforementioned adjustments, as well as a non-taxable appreciation in SoftwareONE’s shareholding in Norwegian listed company Crayon of CHF 83.0 million.

Liquidity and balance sheet

Net cash flow from operations amounted to CHF 276.3 million in 2020, reflecting an increase of CHF 60.0 million compared to the prior year. This was driven primarily by continuous improvements in the collection of receivables and prudent management of payment terms.

Capital expenditure totaled CHF 22.8 million in 2020, mainly relating to investments in PyraCloud and purchases of IT equipment. Cash outflow relating to acquisitions of businesses amounted to CHF 45.5 million, including earn-out payments relating to prior acquisitions. Free cash flow was CHF 257.6 million during 2020.

SoftwareONE closely monitored the credit situation among customers following the escalation of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, but saw only a minor impact on its ability to collect funds from customers. The bad debt provision as a percentage of trade receivables increased from 0.9% as at 31 December 2019 to 1.0% as at 31 December 2020. The proportion of insured receivables remained high at approximately 47%, with an additional 20% being from governments or highly creditworthy customers as at 31 December 2020.

Net cash position was CHF 496.5 million as at 31 December 2020 compared to CHF 209.9 million one year earlier.

Overall, SoftwareONE continues to be in a position of financial strength, with significant liquidity and strong cash flow generation.


In 2021, SoftwareONE expects an improved operating environment, albeit with uncertainty around Covid-19 restrictions, vaccine roll-out and government stimulus programs, which are expected to influence the rate of macroeconomic recovery. According to Gartner1, global IT spend is expected to increase by 6.2% in 2021, with enterprise software growing at 8.8%. Moreover, Gartner predicts that organizations will accelerate digitization plans by at least five years with the cloud emerging as a critical enabler of resilience and innovation in the ‘new normal’.

As SoftwareONE accelerates its growth strategy, continued focus will be maintained on meeting customer purchasing needs via Software & Cloud. However, as previously described, the group’s approach will shift further towards modern commerce ‘pay-as-you-go’ subscriptions and an expanding portfolio of IP-based services and solutions, all digitally-enabled via PyraCloud. Meanwhile,  investments to take advantage of new strategic growth areas within services will continue, which is expected to limit EBITDA margin expansion beyond its current level.

Consequently, and based on the assumption of no further material deterioration in the environment due to Covid-19, SoftwareONE’s guidance for 2021 is as follows:

By business line, Solutions & Services is expected to continue to demonstrate strong momentum in 2021, with the rate of gross profit growth materially exceeding that of Software & Cloud. Furthermore, overall growth for the group is expected to accelerate during the course of the year, as the effects of ongoing strategic initiatives and investments come through.

Beyond 2021, SoftwareONE expects a further acceleration in gross profit growth to the ‘mid-teens’ in constant currency, with EBITDA growth in excess of gross profit growth in the mid-term.

Supported by a strong balance sheet and cash flow generation, SoftwareONE will continue to invest to drive long-term growth.

1) Gartner Forecasts Worldwide IT Spending (January 2021)

Definitions of Alternative Performance Measures and Reconciliation to IFRSFinancial Review

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