Business Figures for 2015
Questions to Dr. Jochen Wiechen, CEO at Intershop
Intershop has just released its figures. How would you look back on 2015 for Intershop?
2015 was a good year for Intershop: The restructuring of the company from a service to a product company is taking hold, the cost structure and revenue are adjusted to one other, and our partner business is seeing positive development. We are operating at a profit for the first time since 2011. We want to follow up our good 2015 with an even better 2016.
How did the service share develop in relation to the high-margin product business last year, and what is the target ratio?
Starting with a 30 percent share of product revenues to 70 percent service revenues in 2014, we were able to achieve a ratio here of 40:60 last year. We are aiming to increase the product share to 70 percent in the medium term.
Intershop seeks to put a special focus on the B2B business in 2016. Why do you believe this market offers greater potential for Intershop?
The B2B market is currently facing major changes. Many manufacturers see themselves as being confronted by the challenges of digitalization. They have to set up new production and sales processes and, in some cases, sell directly and online for the first time. We want to help companies along this path. We will concentrate on certain industries in order to create special competitive advantages for clients and secure our own position as the market leader with our solution. This year, we will focus on developing the B2B functionalities of the Commerce Suite.
What role does the cloud segment play here?
So far, our cloud segment has progressed according to plan. This year, we would like to do more work with our cloud offering tailored specifically for the growing B2B market. The entry barriers to online retailing are to be kept low for manufacturers, for example. One of the strengths of the Commerce Suite is the fact that companies are able to grow with us and can also switch to hybrid or on-premises solutions further down the line.
In light of the new target group, will the marketing costs not have to see a substantial increase?
We are not actually new to the B2B market; we already have major references in this area. But it is true that we will have to increase our visibility in competitive markets. This is why we will support the positioning mentioned earlier with targeted marketing. We have planned a 15 percent increase in expenses and we aim to keep a close eye on the EBIT, which is seeing a slight increase, for the whole year.
In November, Intershop published a voting rights notification stating that the Ebay share package is now held by Sterling Fund Management, LLC. How is cooperation arranged here?
The Executive Board and Supervisory Board are continuouslyin contact in order to discuss on how to shape the next steps in a way that benefits everyone involved. I fully understand that our shareholders are impatiently waiting for news in this respect, but I can only ask for their understanding as these discussions are being held in absolute confidence. I am also currently unable to answer any questions about a possible earmarked date for an announcement in this matter.
Outlook for 2016: The guidance of Intershop appears cautious. Why?
We are planning conservatively with a “slowly rising EBIT with revenues at the previous year’s level” – also allowing us to avoid repeating past experiences where we fell short of high expectations. We achieved important milestones last year, enabling us to grow at a sustainable profit. We intend to continue down this road and have a considerable amount of work ahead of us.