Ad hoc announcements


13 Mar 2020

Financial results 2019

u-blox (SIX:UBXN), a global leader in wireless and positioning technologies, today announced its financial results for the full year 2019.

Financial Summary

  • Revenues of CHF 385.1 million compared to CHF 393.3 million last year, a decline of 2.1%
  • Gross Profit (adjusted) of CHF 175.1 million compared to CHF 177.9 million last year, a decline of 1.6%, and resulting in a gross margin of 45.5% versus 45.2% last year
  • EBIT (adjusted) of CHF 43.1 million, compared to CHF 60.4 million last year
  • Net Profit (adjusted) before minority interests of CHF 32.0 million, compared to CHF 48.2 million last year
  • Cash flow from operating activities of CHF 77.3 million compared to CHF 36.3 million in 2018
  • Free cash flow of CHF 10.5 million (CHF 21.3 million before acquisitions), compared to CHF  -27.0 million last year
  • EBITDA (adjusted) of CHF 71.7 million, compared to CHF 81.2 million last year
  • CHF 127.4 million of cash and cash equivalents at year-end 2019, compared to CHF 136.3 million at year-end 2018

Business Highlights / Achievements

  • Sold 500 millionth GNSS receiver, demonstrating the ever-greater role of satellite positioning in consumer, industrial and automotive applications.
  • Acquired the Bluetooth module business from Rigado in July 2019, which broadened u-blox’s short range product portfolio, adding a large number of new customers, new distribution relationships, and a team of talented engineers.
  • Expanded existing partnerships with Sapcorda and Kudelski to grow u-blox’s wireless services business to provide customers with even greater capabilities.
  • Continued to make significant investments into R&D, given that u-blox is currently capitalizing six new platforms across all technologies.

Product Highlights

In 2019, u-blox launched exciting new products across its entire platform:

  • SARA-R5 cellular chipset and module series – delivers high-security, low-energy communication and positioning to the IoT.
  • NINA-B4 and BMD-360 short range radio modules – Bluetooth stand-alone modules, also ideal for indoor positioning applications and for deployments in harsh conditions.
  • ZED-F9K positioning module – dead reckoning module that caters to the automotive market’s need for high-precision positioning.
  • M9 – positioning chipset and modules catering to the demanding automotive and high-end telematics applications.
  • u-connect - service provided by u-blox, which enables easy and interactive development of embedded applications, thereby simplifying wireless Bluetooth and Wi-Fi device development.

Management commentary

Thomas Seiler, u-blox Chief Executive Officer, commented, “2019 was a solid year for u-blox despite less than ideal market conditions, particularly in EMEA and the Americas.  Overall, business sentiment in EMEA was subdued due to the ongoing trade tension that created uncertainty across the region.  In the Americas, the delay in network readiness had a lingering impact on our sales, although we saw an acceleration of LTE sales in the second half of the year. We were pleased to see a resurgence of revenues in APAC, led by a strong rebound in China, as the entire region benefited from strong demand in industrial and automotive IoT applications for our products.”

“I am also pleased to report that in 2019, we brought to market an important series of new products, including the SARA-R5 cellular chipset, across our entire platform to ensure our customers have access to leading-edge capabilities and applications in connectivity and positioning technology. We continued to significantly invest in R&D in 2019 with the investment of CHF 78.9 million, in order to develop the next generation of products that will propel our long-term organic growth. The Internet of Things continues to integrate into every aspect of our world. Momentum for these products only grows and u-blox is strongly positioned to benefit from these dynamics in 2020 and beyond.”

Outlook – Full Year 2020

For 2020, u-blox is providing the following high-level guidance. Of significance, a key area of uncertainty surrounding u-blox and other businesses around the world is the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, which was first widely reported in early 2020. We remain highly vigilant and we continue to monitor and assess the situation as new information is learned. The company currently does not anticipate direct negative effects on production, and maintains solid inventory levels. u-blox has procedures in place to mitigate the risks for u-blox and employees. Due to the many variables and uncertainties regarding this outbreak, we are providing wider ranges than normal, and we will provide updates to our guidance as needed.

  • Revenue in the range of CHF 380 million and 440 million
  • EBITDA in the range of CHF 40 million and 80 million
  • EBIT in the range of CHF 0 million and 30 million

Download the presentation here.

Financial Overview

Revenues of CHF 385.1 million were in line with the latest guidance, with EBIT (adjusted) of CHF 43.1 million and EBITDA (adjusted) of CHF 71.7 million. We saw a resurgence in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, including a strong rebound in China, which is offset by declines in our Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Americas regions due to broader industry and macro-economic forces.

In APAC, revenues grew by 5% to CHF 145.6 million in 2019 from CHF 139.3 million in 2018, driven by solid demand in the industrial and automotive end markets. China rebounded with a 16.0% increase in revenues from 2018, driven by increased domestic investment in technology for infrastructure and growth in industrial IoT. We also experienced good growth in Japan. APAC growth was partially offset by the elimination of a large customer in Taiwan who failed to meet our standards of compliance with terms and conditions.

Revenues in EMEA decreased to CHF 119.3 million in 2019 from CHF 126.4 million in 2018 ( -6%), the latter of which included non-recurring individual projects. EMEA experienced growth in new markets, including micro-mobility and sustainability applications such as solar converters and electric vehicle charging. EMEA also observed an uptick in the auto sector in the second half of 2019 compared to the prior year period driven by increased content in vehicles. Overall the region continues to be constrained by the negative sentiment caused by the ongoing global trade wars, which have induced our customers in this region to slow their rate of investment and dampened the level of cross border business activity.

In the Americas, revenues decreased by CHF 7.2 million, or  -6% year over year to CHF 119.2 million, as there were lingering delays associated with the migration to LTE based connectivity. However, we experienced accelerated LTE-sales in the second half of 2019, and we are optimistic about the increased pace of adoption in 2020.

Revenue breakdown

u-blox operates in two segments:

  • Positioning and wireless products
    u-blox develops and sells chips and modules for positioning and wireless connectivity that are used in automotive, industrial and consumer applications. In 2019, revenue was CHF 385.0 million compared to CHF 393.0 million in 2018.
  • Wireless services
    u-blox also offers wireless communication technology services in terms of reference designs and software. In 2019, revenue for wireless services was CHF 32.1 million compared to CHF 31.4 million in 2018 (including intra group revenue).

Geographic breakdown of 2019 revenues (by billing location) were:

  • Asia-Pacific revenues of CHF 145.6 million (38% total revenues), an increase of CHF 6.3 million, or 5% from 2018
  • EMEA revenues of CHF 119.3 million (31% total revenues), a decrease of CHF 7.1 million, or -6% from 2018
  • Americas revenues of CHF 119.2 million (31% total revenues), a decrease of CHF 7.2 million, or -6% from 2018

In 2019, the company generated approximately 80% of total revenues from 108 customers. u-blox's largest customer accounted for only 4% of revenues and at year-end, u-blox served over 7,200 customers worldwide.

Gross profit

Adjusted gross profit decreased by 1.6% to CHF 175.1 million in 2019 from CHF 177.9 million in 2018. Adjusted gross profit margin was slightly more favorable at 45.5% for 2019 compared to 45.2% in 2018 due to favorable changes in product mix and reduced costs for licenses.

Distribution and marketing activities

Distribution and marketing expenses (adjusted) in 2019 were CHF 35.2 million as compared to CHF 34.8 million in the previous year. As a percentage of revenue, distribution and marketing expenses (adjusted) were 9.1% in 2019 compared to 8.8% in 2018.

Research and product development

Adjusted R&D expenses in 2019 were CHF 78.9 million as compared to CHF 67.8 million in 2018 due to increased amortization expense of capitalized projects entering the production phase and a lower overall capitalization rate of current projects. As a percentage of revenue, adjusted R&D expenses in 2019 were 20.5% as compared to 17.2% in 2018.

Share based payment

Share based payment expenses recognized according to IFRS in 2019 were CHF 5.3 million as compared to CHF 8.4 million in 2018.

Operating Profit (EBIT)

Adjusted EBIT was CHF 43.1 million in 2019 as compared to CHF 60.4 million in 2018, a decline of 28.7%. Accordingly, adjusted EBIT margin was 11.2% in 2019 compared to 15.4% in 2018. Adjusted Operating Profit before depreciation and amortization was CHF 71.7 million, a decline of 11.8% from 2018.  The decline was due primarily to increased expense for R&D projects and into new products.

Finance income and costs

Adjusted finance income was CHF 0.5 million. Adjusted finance costs of CHF 4.1 million consisted primarily of interest payments for the two outstanding bonds and unrealized foreign currency losses. Share of profit of equity-accounted investees net of tax was CHF 4.3 million in 2019.

Net cash generated from operating activities

In 2019, u-blox generated cash from operating activities in the amount of CHF 77.3 million as compared to CHF 36.3 million in 2018, an increase of 112.7% compared to previous year, due to better margins and a decrease in net working capital driven by lower inventories and trade accounts receivables as well as the effects of changes in the IFRS accounting standards.

Main investing activities

Investments in property, plant and equipment, and intangible assets amounted to CHF 56.9 million in 2019 compared to CHF 61.4 million in 2018. As a percentage of sales, the investment ratio decreased slightly to 14.8% in 2019 from 15.6% in 2018.

Despite the continued expansion of the R&D pipeline and the increased number of development projects across all product categories, capitalized development costs decreased slightly to CHF 50.0 million from CHF 53.8 million in 2018. There were no investments in intellectual property rights in 2019 or 2018. Investments in software amounted to CHF 0.4 million in 2019 compared to CHF 0.3 million in 2018. In 2019, investments in property, plant and equipment were CHF 6.5 million compared to CHF 7.3 million in 2018.

In 2019, 87.9% of total investments went into the development of new products compared to 87.6% in 2018. No investments were made into capacity expansion in 2019 or 2018.

Financing activities

In 2019 u-blox paid dividends of CHF 11.1 million and received proceeds of CHF 0.9 million from the issuance of ordinary shares in connection with its employee share option plan. The cash flow from financing activities also contains the effect of IFRS accounting standard changes.

Solid financial position

At year-end 2019, u-blox had a strong balance sheet with an equity ratio of 60.0%. Cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities amounted to CHF 128.3 million on December 31, 2019, compared to CHF 137.7 million on December 31, 2018.

Goodwill increased due to the acquisition of shares of Tashang and the assets of Rigado from CHF 55.2 million in 2018 to CHF 56.0 million, or 9.6% of total assets, in 2019.

On the basis of this strong financial position, the Board of Directors is proposing at the Annual General Meeting a payment in the form of a tax-free par value reduction. For this year, a par value reduction of CHF 0.60 per share is proposed, which represents a payout ratio of 33.1% of consolidated Net Profit in line with previous years’ payout ratios.


Financial highlights (adjusted)

(CHF in million)201920182017
Growth rate over previous year-2.1%-2.6%12.1%
Gross Profit adjusted2)175.1177.9184.8
Growth rate over previous year-1.6%-3.7%10.1%
Gross Profit adjusted2) in % of revenue45.5%45.2%45.8%
EBITDA1) adjusted2)71.781.297.8
Growth rate over previous year-11.8%-16.9%8.7%
EBITDA adjusted in % of revenue18.6%20.7%24.2%
Operating Profit (EBIT) adjusted2)43.160.478.0
Growth rate over previous year-28.7%-22.6%11.8%
Operating Profit (EBIT) adjusted2) in % of revenue11.2%15.4%19.3%
Net Profit before minority interest adjusted2)
Growth rate over previous year-33.5%-21.7%13.3%
Net Profit adjusted2) in % of revenue8.3%12.2%15.2%
Cash generated from operating activities77.336.360.5
Growth rate over previous year112.7%-39.9%-35.3%
in % of revenue20.1%9.2%15.0%
in % of total assets60.0%63.1%60.7%
Adjusted2) earnings per share4.696.998.91

1) EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) calculated by adding depreciation and amortization to profit from operations (EBIT), in each case determined in accordance with IFRS.
2) excl. share based payments, impacts based on IAS-19, amortization of intangible assets acquired and non-recurring expenses

Financial highlights (IFRS)

(CHF in million)201920182017
Growth rate over previous year-2.1%-2.6%12.1%
Gross Profit174.5177.1184.0
Growth rate over previous year-1.5%-3.7%10.1%
Gross Profit in % of revenue45.3%45.0%45.6%
Growth rate over previous year-8.9%-18.0%6.9%
EBITDA in % of revenue16.9%18.2%21.6%
Operating profit (EBIT)22.148.365.1
Growth rate over previous year-54.3%-25.8%10.3%
Operating profit (EBIT) in % of revenue5.7%12.3%16.1%
Net Profit before minority interests12.938.551.3
Growth rate over previous year-66.4-24.9%11.0%
Net Profit before minority interests in % of revenue3.4%9.8%12.7%
Cash generated from operating activities77.336.360.5
Growth rate over previous year112.7%-39.9%-35.3%
in % of revenue20.1%9.2%15.0%
in % of total assets60.0%63.1%60.7%
Earnings per share1.896.998.91

1) EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) calculated by adding depreciation and amortization to profit from operations (EBIT), in each case determined in accordance with IFRS.


Consolidated income statement (adjusted)


 Jan-Dec 2019 Adjust-
Jan-Dec 2019 Jan-Dec 2018 
(in CHF 000s)(IFRS)% revenue (adjusted)% revenue(adjusted)% revenue
Revenue385'099100.0 385'099100.0393'269100.0
Cost of sales-210'606-54.7584-210'022-54.5-215'342-54.8
Gross Profit174'49345.3584175.07745.5177'92745.2
Distribution and marketing expenses-36'646-9.51'454-35'192-9.1-34'782-8.8
Research and development expenses-96'253-25.017'348-78'905-20.5-67'818-17.2
General and administrative expenses-23'272-6.01'650-21'622-5.6-18'744-4.8
Other income3'7321.0 3'7321.0%3'8181.0
Operating Profit (EBIT)22'0545.721'03643'09011.260'40115.4
Finance income5470.1 5470.15.3051.3
Finance costs-4'133-1.1 -4'133-1.1-2'158-0.5
Share of profit of equity-accounted
investees, net of taxes
-4'249-1.1 -4'249-1.1-3'339-0.8
Profit before income tax (EBT)14'2193.721'03635'2559.260'20915.3
Income tax expense-1'306-0.3-1'933-3'238-0.8-12'039-3.1
Net profit12'9133.419'10432'0178.348'17012.2
Minority interests-1490.0 -1490.0  
Net profit, attributable to owners of the parent13'0623.4 32'1668.448'17012.2
Earnings per share in CHF1.89  4.69 6.99 
Diluted earnings per share in CHF1.89  4.69 6.96 
Operating Profit (EBIT)22'0545.721'03643'09011.2%60'40115.4
Depreciation and amortization43'18911.2-14'58928'6007.420'8445.3

1)Management calculates EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) by adding back depreciation and amortization to operating profit (EBIT), in each case determined in accordance with IFRS.
2)Adjustments are impacts of share based payments, Pension calculation according to IAS-19, Non-recurring expenses, impairment and amortization of intangible assets acquired


Condensed consolidated statement of financial position


(in CHF 000s)At December 31, 2019 (audited)At December 31, 2018 (audited)
Current assets  
Cash and cash equivalents127'424136'296
Marketable securities8981'401
Trade accounts receivables48'46960'802
Other assets83'67078'415
Total current assets260'461276'914
Non-current assets  
Property, plant and equipment12'70714'829
Right-of-use assets21'8240
Intangible assets219'194193'445
Financial assets (incl. equity accounted investees)8'8449'041
Deferred tax assets6'8863'570
Total non-current assets325'482276'116
Total assets585'943553'030
Current liabilities61'43155'476
Non-current liabilities172'913148'677
Total liabilities234'344204'153
Shareholders’ equity  
Share capital109'5696'390
Share premium16'60066'296
Retained earnings225'295276'191
Total equity, attributable to owners of the parent351'464348'877
Non-controlling interest1350
Total equity351'599348'877
Total liabilities and equity585'943553'030


Consolidated cash flow statement

(in CHF 000s)For the period ended December 31, 2019For the period ended December 31, 2018
Net Profit12'91338'481
Depreciation & Amortization43'18923'356
Other non-cash transactions5'2639'814
Financial income & financial expense7'835192
Income tax expense1'3069'617
Change in networking capital and provision16'186-32'235
Income tax paid-9'401-12'883
Net cash generated from operating activities77'29136'342
Net investment into property, plant and equipment-6'454-7'312
Net investment into intangibles-50'446-54'075
Net investments into financial assets8742'103
Acquisition of subsidiaries, net of cash acquired and participations-10'734-4'107
Net cash used in investing activities-66'760-63'391
Free Cash Flow (before acquisitions and participations)21'265-22'942
Free Cash Flow10'531-27'049
Proceeds from issuance of ordinary shares87615'286
Dividends paid to owners of the parent-11'077-15'441
Payment of lease liabilities-4'9960
Purchase of treasury shares0-7'609
Non-controlling interests85 
Interest paid-2'544-1'917
Net cash provided by / used in financing activities-17'656-9'681
Net decrease in cash and cash equivalents-7'125-36'730
Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of year136'296169'624
Exchange gains/(losses) on cash and cash equivalents-1'747-3'402
Cash and cash equivalents at end of the period127'424136'296


Conference call and webcast details

Thomas Seiler, CEO and Roland Jud, CFO, will host a conference call and webcast with analysts and investors Friday, March 13, at 10:00 AM CET. A live slide presentation will be available for viewing during the call from the link below.

To participate, please dial the following number approximately 10 minutes prior to the start of the call:

Switzerland / Europe:+41 (0) 58 310 50 00
United Kingdom:+44 (0) 207 107 06 13
United States:  +1 (1) 631 570 56 13


Webcast Participants’ Links:
Pre-Registration Link:
The webcast will be available at the u-blox website after the event.

About u-blox

u-blox (SIX:UBXN) is a global provider of leading positioning and wireless communication technologies for the automotive, industrial, and consumer markets. Their solutions let people, vehicles, and machines determine their precise position and communicate wirelessly over cellular and short range networks. With a broad portfolio of chips, modules, and a growing ecosystem of product supporting data services, u-blox is uniquely positioned to empower its customers to develop innovative solutions for the Internet of Things, quickly and cost-effectively. With headquarters in Thalwil, Switzerland, the company is globally present with offices in Europe, Asia, and the USA.

Find us on, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter @ublox and YouTube

u‑blox contact:
Gitte Jensen
Investor Relations
Phone +41 44 722 7486

u‑blox AG
Zürcherstrasse 68
8800 Thalwil
Phone +41 44 722 74 44
Fax +41 44 722 74 47