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SYNLAB AG: SYNLAB achieves record results in 2021 and exceeds all targets set at the IPO

DGAP-News: SYNLAB AG / Key word(s): Annual Results
16.03.2022 / 07:00
The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

SYNLAB achieves record results in 2021 and exceeds all targets set at the IPO

  • Revenue reaching €3.76 billion (+€760 million vs. IPO guidance)
  • Consistent execution of underlying organic growth strategy with 9.6% non-COVID 19[1] organic revenue growth
  • Leadership in COVID-19 response with 35+ million PCR and non-PCR tests performed in 2021
  • Adjusted EBITDA of €1.21 billion (+€410 million vs IPO guidance), margin at 32.1%
  • Unlevered free cash flow of €743 million (+€440 million vs IPO guidance)
  • Dividend proposal of €0.33 per share
  • 2022 financial guidance: revenue guidance revised upward reflecting the Omicron wave

SYNLAB, the leader in medical diagnostic services and specialty testing in Europe, today announced its audited FY 2021 results and published the Group's 2021 annual report. SYNLAB achieved record results in 2021 on all key metrics. Revenue rose by 44% year-on-year to €3.76 billion in 2021 (2020: €2.62 billion). Compared to the previous year, adjusted EBITDA increased by 78% to €1.21 billion (2020: €0.68 billion).

"2021 has been a very special year for SYNLAB, including our successful IPO on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Despite the environment which has remained challenging, we were able to exceed our targets set at the IPO due to our leadership in COVID-19 testing and continued growth of our core business. The strong demand for COVID-19 tests has caused us to increase our guidance for 2022," said Mathieu Floreani, CEO of SYNLAB Group. "Leveraging our increased financial flexibility, we will continue to execute on our successful growth strategy - both through investments in our core business as well as through further acquisitions."

SYNLAB Key figures (€m) FY 2021 FY 2020 YoY Growth
Revenue 3,764.9 2,621.2 +43.6%
Operating profit 914.5 315.5 +190%
Net profit (Group share) 624.8 257.6 +143%
Adjusted EBITDA 1,209.8 679.2 +78.1%
Adjusted operating profit (AOP) 996.1 504.5 +97.4%
Adjusted net profit (Group share) 676.0 214.9 +215%
Unlevered free cash flow 742.5 271.7 +173%

Financial performance: outstanding results

Strong growth delivered: +44%

FY 2021 revenue was up 44% to €3.76 billion (FY 2020: €2.62 billion), showing the ability of SYNLAB to combine both leadership in the COVID-19 response and consistent execution of its underlying growth strategy. Total organic[2] growth was 42%, principally due to volume expansion.

The net revenue contribution from COVID-19 was approximately €1.56 billion[3], with SYNLAB performing 29.7 million PCR and 5.6 million non-PCR tests during the year 2021. The average price per PCR test was around €49 in 2021, compared with €65 in 2020.

Underlying organic growth (non-COVID-19 organic growth[4]) was 9.6%, with strong underlying volume growth largely offsetting a limited price decrease of 0.7% at Group level. In the last three quarters of 2021, growth was further supported by the ramp-up of the South-East London hospital outsourcing contract (the "SEL" contract), a part of the North & East Region.

In line with its longer-term guidance, and thanks to the "For You" growth initiatives, SYNLAB was able to deliver underlying organic growth of 3.3% excluding the contribution of the SEL contract. The mature markets of France (22% of revenue) and Germany (19% of revenue) grew by 0.7% and 1.7% respectively with volume growth offsetting price decreases. Growth was very robust in the South Region (28% of revenue) at 4.9% and in the North & East Region (31% of revenue) at 5.8%[5] due to strong underlying volume growth and a favorable pricing environment.

Even higher profitability improvement, strong cash conversion

FY 2021 adjusted EBITDA (AEBITDA) increased by 78% to €1.21 billion. The AEBITDA margin increased by 6.2 percentage points to 32.1%. Incremental volumes from COVID-19 testing on a relatively fixed cost base was the main driver for the margin uplift, reflecting the volume leverage of the business. In addition to efficiencies from the ongoing SALIX program (€20 million of savings overall in 2021), SYNLAB also delivered strong productivity in COVID-19 testing activity by setting up "COVID-19 testing factories" with capacities of over 10.000 tests per day and increased automation.

FY 2021 adjusted operating profit (AOP) rose nearly twofold to €996 million with an AOP margin increasing by 7.3 percentage points to 26.5%. Profit growth was largely enabled by making use of the existing SYNLAB asset base, as shown by the faster growth in AOP compared to AEBITDA.

All Regions recorded margin expansion. The North & East as well as South Regions recorded substantial margin expansion (+10.6 and +6.2 percentage points respectively), driven by the strong revenue growth. Germany also delivered strong margin growth (+5.8 percentage points), with a positive impact on margin from the "COVID-19 testing factories" and the SALIX program. France saw margin progression of +3.6 percentage points, even allowing for extra IT costs related to the conversion of the main laboratory information systems.

FY 2021 adjusted net profit grew by 215%, driven by the expansion in operating profit and improved financial results, partly offset by a higher tax expense. FY 2021 adjusted EPS was €3.14[6], compared with €1.07 for FY 2020.

Profit growth drove a strong operating cash flow and a record unlevered free cash flow of €743 million in FY 2021, despite a €50 million increase in net CAPEX (excl. leases), of which 40% was expansion CAPEX. The cash conversion ratio (unlevered free cash flow / adjusted EBITDA) was very strong at 61%.

Strong returns, leverage ratio at lowest level since the creation of SYNLAB

The return on capital employed reached 20%, boosted by the strong profit expansion, with capital employed expanding at a much lower pace.

At the end of December 2021, adjusted net debt stood at €1.67 billion compared with €2.25 billion at the end of December 2020. The leverage ratio[7] dropped to 1.35x compared with 3.3x at the end of 2020, the lowest year-end level achieved since the creation of the SYNLAB Group.

Key 2021 achievements

2021 was marked by continuous efforts for the COVID-19 pandemic response. Throughout the year, SYNLAB supported individuals, corporates, governments and healthcare systems in the fight against the coronavirus. SYNLAB performed more than 35 million tests, including regular PCR tests, PCR pooling tests for schools and antibody tests. SYNLAB was also at the forefront regarding the sequencing of positive tests to monitor the development of variants.

Good progress on all four pillars of the SYNLAB growth strategy

Accelerate organic growth: As part of its retail initiative, SYNLAB accelerated the pace of blood collection point openings (>150 in 2021). It also successfully delivered on one of the biggest hospital outsourcing contracts in the UK ("SEL" contract), showcasing its capacity to deliver best-in-class service at a competitive cost. SYNLAB reinforced its European leadership in specialty[8] testing, which represents more than 20% of the company's base business or more than €500 million.

Operational excellence: SYNLAB is engaged in a multi-year efficiency program, aiming at reducing its cost base by €20 million every year. This past year was no exception, with the SALIX program delivering slightly more than this target. The core lab program of equipment renewal and automation also progressed well and is now 85% completed.

Improve employee engagement: At the end of December 2021, SYNLAB had a total of 30,570 employees, increasing by around 5,900 year-on-year. This growth is attributable to M&A (~2,000 people), people hired to support growth initiatives including the SEL contract (~1,000 people), and our strong mobilisation to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including temporary hires. Employee engagement is measured through a yearly group-wide engagement survey. The 2021 "SYNLAB Dialogue" (measured in 2022) recorded stable participation and engagement scores compared with 2020 (after +13% in 2020), despite the challenges created by the all-time peak in COVID- 19 activity during the survey process. Other key achievements were the further deployment of our ESG roadmap, supported by strong governance (ESG Committees at Executive Committee / Board levels), and the launch of a multi-year and group-wide employee share participation plan.

Capital deployment: SYNLAB accelerated capital deployment, investing in its own operations and in M&A. Net CAPEX (excl. leases) increased by €50 million year-on-year, including investments in new blood collection points (e.g., in the South Region), the purchase of new equipment as well as IT (French laboratory information system, data centre and ERP, digitalisation). COVID-19-related CAPEX was €9 million in 2021. M&A spend was €250 million, which is more than the average annual M&A spend of €200 million between 2016 and 2019[9]. In 2021, SYNLAB completed 18 acquisitions for a total revenue contribution of €143 million[10], representing 5.4% revenue growth. The major acquisitions in 2021 were Gruppo Tronchet (€24 million revenue in 2021), a strong regional player in Italy, as well as Laboratorio Médico Polanco "LMP" and Laboratorio Clinicos de Puebla "LCR" (€74 million revenue in 2021), a leading platform with the potential for further consolidation in the attractive Mexican market. Other bolt-on acquisitions were made in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Mexico and Colombia.

Over-delivering on 2021 IPO targets

At the time of the successful IPO, SYNLAB set a number of financial targets based on the Group's growth strategy. At year-end, all targets for the financial year 2021 were either met or exceeded.

  IPO target FY 2021 Key enablers
Organic growth (ex COVID-19) ~10% 9.6% -"For You" strategy
-"SEL" contract
M&A (EV, in €m) ~200 250 -18 acquisitions in 6 countries
-Two mid-sized deals in Italy Mexico
COVID-19 revenue (€m) ~800 (2021)
~500 (2022)
~1,600 (2021) -Best medical, commercial, operational execution
  IPO target FY 2021 Outperformance
Revenue (€bn) >3.0 3.76 +0.76
Total growth ~17% ~44% x2.6
AEBITDA (€m) ~800[11] 1,210 +410
AEBITDA margin ~26% ~32% ~+6ppts
Unlevered FCF (€m) 300-350 743 +443

Based on the strong performance in FY 2021, the Management and the Supervisory Boards of SYNLAB AG will propose a dividend of €0.33 per share to the Annual General Meeting on 16 May 2022.

2022 outlook

In 2022, SYNLAB will continue with the implementation of its growth strategy: outperforming market growth through For You initiatives and continuing to grow through M&A. We expect COVID-19 testing revenue to decline, but to remain significant due to our large-scale, geographically diversified and medically relevant services.

SYNLAB expects FY 2022 revenue to be around €3.0 billion (November 2021 guidance: €2.9 billion) compared with €3.76 billion in FY 2021. The adjusted EBITDA margin is expected to be within a 23-25% range (unchanged compared to the November 2021 guidance), compared with 32.1% in FY 2021.

The year-on-year expected decrease is attributable to lower COVID-19 testing revenue.

The adjusted EBITDA margin range, unchanged compared to the November 2021 guidance, factors in: 1) the strategy to maintain COVID-19 response capacity at the level medically necessary and potential lag time before any ramp down 2) the dilutive impact on margin of additional growth initiatives and 3) further inflation risks.

The pipeline for future acquisitions is strong and diversified, and SYNLAB retains a very disciplined approach to acquisitions. The Group aims to exceed €200 million of M&A spend once more in 2022.

SYNLAB has closed 5 acquisitions since the beginning of 2022, in Spain, Italy and Germany, representing an estimated annualized revenue of €25 million. Two of them enhance our specialty testing services:

  • Sistemas Genómicos in Spain, a company with a strong track record in genetic sequencing, molecular biology, genetics and bioinformatics as well as the software-supported analysis of biological data. It employs over 100 highly qualified experts and revenue of approximately €20 million in 2021
  • Institute for Pathology and Molecular Pathology Pforzheim in the Southwest region of Germany a highly specialized pathology laboratory with revenue or around €3 million in 2021.

Conference calls

Starting today at 9:00 a.m. CET, SYNLAB will hold a media webcast on its Q4 and FY 2021 results, hosted by Mathieu Floreani, CEO of SYNLAB and Sami Badarani, CFO of SYNLAB. Journalists can follow the webcast here.

The conference call with the SYNLAB Management Board for analysts and investors at 3:00 p.m. CET can be accessed here.

For more information:

Media contact:
Diana Tabor, FTI Consulting               
+49 (0) 151 466 938 56
Investor contact:
Mark Reinhard, SYNLAB
+49 (0) 170 118 3753


  • SYNLAB Group is the leader in medical diagnostic services and specialty testing in Europe. The Group offers a full range of innovative and reliable medical diagnostics to patients, practising doctors, hospitals and clinics, governments and corporates.
  • Providing the leading level of service within the industry, SYNLAB is the partner of choice for routine and specialty diagnostics in human and veterinary medicine. The Group continuously innovates medical diagnostic services for the benefit of patients and customers.
  • SYNLAB operates in 36 countries across four continents and holds leading positions in most markets, regularly reinforcing the strength of its network through a proven acquisition strategy. More than 30,000 employees, including over 2,000 medical experts, contribute every day to the Group's worldwide success.
  • SYNLAB performed around 600 million laboratory tests and achieved revenues of €3.76 billion in 2021.
  • More information can be found on

Financial Calendar

Q1 Results 12 May 2022 (pre-market)
Annual General Meeting          16 May 2022
Investor Day 21 June 2022
Q2/H1 Results 11 August 2022 (pre-market)
Q3/9M Results 10 November 2022 (pre-market)



In €million Revenue AOP
  Q4 2021 Q4 2020 Organic Growth Underlying Growth Q4 2021 Q4 2020 Margin
Q4 2021
Margin, Q4 2020
France 199.8 233.9 -16.5% -1.4% 48.0 56.1 24.0% 24.0%
Germany 210.6 195.6 7.3% -1.6% 53.4 55.9 25.3% 28.6%
South 267.4 261.3 -6.8% 6.6% 48.5 54.8 18.1% 21.0%
North & East 314.7 239.4 29.3% 44.9% 84.8 80.4 26.9% 33.6%
SYNLAB Group 992.6 930.3 3.0% 11.1% 234.7 247.2 23.6% 26.6%
  FY 2021 FY 2020 Organic Growth Underlying Growth FY 2021 FY 2020 Margin FY 2021 Margin
FY 2020
France 828.4 646.6 25.8% 0.7% 214.8 144.5 25.9% 22.3%
Germany 722.7 579.9 24.4% 1.7% 163.6 97.1 22.6% 16.8%
South 1,052.7 799.4 28.1% 4.9% 238.2 131.0 22.6% 16.4%
North & East 1,161.1 595.3 93.8% 33.7% 379.5 131.8 32.7% 22.1%
SYNLAB Group 3,764.9 2,621.2 41.6% 9.6% 996.1 504.5 26.5% 19.2%



Simplified P&L      
In €million FY 2021 FY 2020 Growth
Revenue 3,764.9 2,621.2 +44%
Gross profit 2,822.5 1,936.7 +46%
AEBITDA 1,209.8 679.2 +78%
As % of revenue 32.1% 25.9% +6.2ppts
Adjusted operating profit (AOP) 996.1 504.5 +97%
As % of revenue 26.5% 19.2% +7.3ppts
Operating profit 914.5 315.5 +190%
Financial result -102.5 -188.6 +86.1
Income tax expenses -195.3 -87.3 (108.0)
Adjusted net profit 676.0 214.9 +215%
Net profit (Group share) 624.8 257.6 +367.2
Adjusted EPS (€) 3.14 1.07 +193%
Simplified cash flow      
In €million FY 2021 FY 2020 Growth
Operating cash flow 1,010.7 480.1 +530.6
Unlevered free cash flow 742.5 271.7 +470.8
Net debt and leverage      
In €million Dec. 2021 Dec. 2020 Growth
Net debt 1,602 2,235 (633)
Adjusted net debt 1,671 2,254 (583)
Leverage ratio 1.35x 3.3x (x1.9)



Simplified P&L      
In €million Q4 2021 Q4 2020 Growth
Revenue 992.6 930.3 +7%
Gross profit 739.6 682.8 +8%
AEBITDA 301.8 294.7 +2%
As % of revenue 30.4% 31.7% (1.3)ppts
Adjusted operating profit (AOP) 234.7 247.2 (5)%
As % of revenue 23.6% 26.6% (3.0)ppts
Operating profit 225.4 235.8 (4)%
Financial result -15.8 -46.3 +30.4
Income tax expenses -50.2 -51.2 +1.0
Adjusted net profit 161.1 147.3 +9%
Net profit (Group share) 153.5 351.2[12] (197.8)
Simplified cash flow      
In €million Q4 2021 Q4 2020 Growth
Operating cash flow 224.6 288.6 (64.0)
Unlevered free cash flow 112.3 211.9 (99.6)

The full 2021 annual report has been published on the SYNLAB Investor Relations website.

This document does not constitute or form a part of, and should not be construed as, an offer for sale or subscription of or solicitation of any offer to purchase or subscribe for any securities in any jurisdiction.
Statements made in this document may include forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include all statements that are not historical facts and can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as the words "believes," "expects," "expected," "may," "will," "would," "should," "seeks," "pro forma," "anticipates," "intends," "plans," "estimates," "estimated," or the negative of any thereof or other variations thereof or comparable terminology, or by discussions of strategy or intentions. These statements are not guarantees of future actions or performance and involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions as to future events that may not prove to be accurate. Actual actions or results may differ materially from what is expressed or forecasted in these forward-looking statements. As a result, these statements speak only as of the date they were made and SYNLAB undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. It should be noted that past performance is not a guide to future performance. Interim results are not necessarily indicative of full-year results.
Certain data included in this document are "non-IFRS" measures. These non-IFRS measures may not be comparable to similarly titled financial measures presented by other entities, nor should they be construed as an alternative to other financial measures determined in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards or any other generally accepted accounting principles. Although SYNLAB believes these non-IFRS financial measures provide useful information to users in measuring the financial performance and condition of its business, users are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any non-IFRS financial measures and ratios included in this document. Due to rounding, numbers presented throughout this document may not add up precisely to the totals provided and percentages may not precisely reflect the absolute figures.
[1] Excludes both COVID-19 testing revenue contribution and the positive impact of lower attrition from COVID-19
[2] Organic growth is a non-IFRS measure calculating the growth in revenue for a given period compared to the comparable period of the prior year for the same scope of businesses, excluding discontinued operations, and in constant currency, i.e. using the exchange rates of the prior year reported period.
[3] Consisting of testing revenue of EUR1,600 million netted against an estimated EUR39 million attrition impact
[4] Excluding both COVID-19 testing revenue contribution and the positive impact of lower attrition from COVID-19
[5] Excluding SEL, including SEL growth was 33.7%
[6] Based on a 2021 weighted average of 215,159,817 shares
[7] Net debt to LTM pro-forma adjusted EBITDA
[8] Specialty, genetics, anapathology
[9] 2016-2019 average including A&S. 2020 M&A spend of EUR20 million.
[10] Including post-acquisition revenue contribution of EUR49 million and pre-acquisition revenue of EUR94 million
[11] Consensus as of 7 June 2021
[12] Q4 2020 included EUR221 million of A&S disposal

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Language: English
Company: SYNLAB AG
Moosacher Straße 88
80809 Munich
Phone: +49 1701183753
Indices: SDAX
Listed: Regulated Market in Frankfurt (Prime Standard); Regulated Unofficial Market in Berlin, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Hanover, Munich, Stuttgart, Tradegate Exchange
EQS News ID: 1303491

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Last Updated: 16-Mar-2022