ATOSS Software AG continues to chart its growth path and has maintained its consistent performance in the first half of 2021 in line with the budget. The demand for innovative, software-based solutions for the strategic management of employees is undiminished, especially in the current environment, as they enable companies to optimize their personnel needs along the entire value chain. Around 10,000 customers are now planning and managing more than 3.5 million employees in 52 countries with ATOSS Workforce Management solutions. And there is no end to the demand in sight given the sizable digitization deficit facing many companies. This is not least reflected in the half-yearly figures the company presented Group today.
Software sales in the period from January to June 2021 increased by an appreciable 18 percent, climbing to EUR 30.9 million (prior year: EUR 26.2 million). This equates to a 68 percent share of the Group's total sales (prior year: 64 percent). The successful expansion of sales from cloud and subscriptions which enjoyed a sustainable 52 percent boost to EUR 8.8 million (prior year: EUR 5.8 million) is worthy of special mention. The growth in software maintenance, which has been positive for years, also continued in the first half of the year. Sales here rose by 8 percent to EUR 14.1 million (prior year: EUR 13.0 million). Overall, the proportion of recurring revenues in total sales - and thereby the central, key factor in the company's future growth - continued to grow in line with the budget and has now reached 50 percent for the first time (prior year: 46 percent). Sales from consulting services showed moderate growth of 4 percent to EUR 12.1 million (prior year: EUR 11.6 million) - based on the previous year's figure which was already on a very high level.
The consistently high demand for digital workforce management from the Munich software pioneer is demonstrated by excellent order book figures following a strong order intake in the first half of the year. Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR for short), which has again posted a double-digit increase of 74 percent to around EUR 18.5 million (prior year: EUR 10.6 million), is most noteworthy in this context. Furthermore, the company succeeded in significantly expanding the proportion of orders received for cloud & subscriptions in the total orders for software to over 70 percent. By comparison: in fiscal 2020, the proportion of cloud orders received still stood at around 42 percent. With these developments, ATOSS is taking giant strides in the cloud transformation of its business model.
Notwithstanding the significant year-on-year increase in expenses - particularly for R&D as part of the continuous refinement of ATOSS software solutions as well as higher personnel costs resulting from its international expansion of capacity in Sales - the return on sales relative to operating earnings (EBIT) remains at a high level of 26 percent (prior year 28 percent). But the company's strong performance is also reflected in further key figures for the Group such as liquidity. For example, ATOSS' cash position of EUR 33.8 million (prior year: EUR 30.7 million) as of the end of the first half of the year remains very strong, also after the dividend distribution of EUR 1.67 per share (EUR 13.3 million) carried out on May 5, 2021.
Consequently, ATOSS remains a stronghold of growth and stability and is excellently positioned to post further growth in the future across all customer segments in the highly attractive growth markets revolving around workforce management and digitization. This performance is underpinned by a clear vision and strategy, groundbreaking technologies and solutions which generate sustainable value added for customers. With the expansion of the Executive Board to include Dirk Häußermann as the new co-CEO and Pritim Kumar Krishnamoorthy as the new CTO, the company has also established a platform for its further globalization and the continuation of its already successfully initiated cloud transformation.
Also against the background of the progress made in cloud transformation that is significantly above budget, the Executive Board is standing by its forecast for the whole of 2021, that was already raised at the start of the year. This forecast envisages sales rising to EUR 95 million. Furthermore, the company is budgeting an EBIT margin of 27 percent, taking account of the capital expenditure planned, particularly in sales geared to opening up new markets and in development capacity. The focus on the cloud, combined with greater emphasis on global alignment, will secure the company additional, sustainable growth prospects over the long term.
Further information can be found in our current investor presentation.