2023 marked a transformational year for WorxInvest

Entrance of CVC as minority shareholder in SD Worx. Gimv-deal signed end of November.

The diversified investment company WorxInvest achieved solid results in 2023 and surpassed the consolidated normalized EBITDA threshold of EUR 200 million. The net result, share of the group, amounted to EUR 85.2 million, compared to EUR 52.5 million in 2022. Furthermore, important steps have been taken in the diversification of WorxInvest as a growth-oriented investor with the welcoming of CVC Capital Partners as external minority shareholder in the HR Solutions provider SD Worx (22.5%), that remains the largest asset within WorxInvest’s portfolio, and the signing of the share purchase agreement to acquire 27.81% of the leading listed European investment company Gimv.  
Filip Dierckx, executive chairman of WorxInvest: “As a young and dynamic investment company, we have achieved significant milestones in 2023, positioning ourselves as a strategic anchor investor in prominent Benelux private and public companies. Amongst others, SD Worx officially became a billion-euro company, while our strategic capital injection in the i3-Group underscores our commitment to fostering the international growth of this ambitious technology company. Additionally, we have further committed capital in 2023 to top tier private equity buy-out groups Alpine Investors and Inflexion. We've also initiated the process of obtaining an environmental permit to construct a state-of-the-art headquarters for SD Worx, designed to achieve outstanding sustainability certification. Yet, what truly defined the transformative nature of 2023 for WorxInvest was the landmark minority investment by CVC in SD Worx and the signing of the Gimv deal.”
Consolidated revenues increased from EUR 975.6 million in 2022 to EUR 1,098.6 million last year, an increase by 12.6% or EUR 123.0 million primarily driven by the growth realized by SD Worx and financial interest income that benefited from increased interest rates in financial markets. Total net operating costs rose less pronounced (+6.8%) than consolidated revenues, despite strong wage pressure because of high inflation in 2022, which resulted in an increased normalized EBITDA margin for the group surpassing the EUR 200 million threshold. This growth in operational performance is primarily the reflection of the strong positioning of SD Worx in the European HR industry. To a smaller extent, it is the consequence of WorxInvest’s interest income, its real estate office portfolio located on prime locations and the continued growth of consulting and advisory firm Hazelheartwood. The Gimv deal is still subject to the necessary regulatory approvals, which is expected soon. Therefore, it is assumed that the 2024 earnings of WorxInvest will include the group’s share in the results of Gimv as of closing.  

Further details about the net result

Non-recurring cost

The restructuring and integration expenses, totaling EUR 9.5 million, are exclusively attributed to the strategic initiatives and the integration efforts following mergers and reorganizations within SD Worx. These costs underscore SD Worx’ commitment to streamlining operations and enhancing synergies post-acquisition. Acquisition-related and transactional expenses have amounted to EUR 8.2 million. These were incurred by both the SD Worx and WorxInvest, with a significant portion stemming from the pivotal Gimv-deal. Non-committed stock-based compensation expenses reached EUR 7.2 million. This recognition is in line with the equity-settled share plans operative within SD Worx and WorxInvest, reflecting the company’s dedication to aligning the interests of its workforce with those of its shareholders. Furthermore, a goodwill impairment charge of EUR 2.7 million was recognized on the Staffing & Career Solutions cash-generating unit as of December 31, 2023. This entity offers solutions around flexible work. The adjustment is a direct response to the adverse macroeconomic conditions that have notably affected staffing enterprises in Belgium and the Netherlands. The ongoing uncertainties in the market—pertaining to economic growth, geopolitical tensions, and persistent inflation—alongside a slower-than-expected recovery, necessitate a more conservative approach in our valuation of the Staffing & Career Solutions business segment.

Depreciations and amortizations

As of December 31, 2023, depreciation and amortization charges on both tangible and intangible assets have reached EUR 64.8 million, which primarily stems from SD Worx’s substantial and ongoing investments in digital infrastructure and the modernization of WorxInvest’s investment property. The increase in these charges can mainly be attributed to SD Worx’ intensified commitment to digital innovation and the systematic amortization of intangible assets acquired through strategic business combinations. These assets include, but are not limited to, brand names and customer relationships.

Financial results

As of December 31, 2023, the financial result reflects a loss of EUR 4.2 million. This is predominantly due to the interest expenses on SD Worx’s debt, which have been partially offset by the interest income generated from WorxInvest’s strong net cash position. The group’s total cash position, as of December 31, 2023, stands at a substantial EUR 507.4 million. The group has also at its disposal a credit facility of EUR 200 million, entirely undrawn.

Taxes

A notable uptick in tax expenses can be observed, with an increase of EUR 19.3 million—from EUR 1.1 million on December 31, 2022, to EUR 20.4 million in the current fiscal period. The previous fiscal year benefited from a lower tax rate, significantly influenced by the deferred tax assets recognized on the fiscal losses carried forward, which were reflective of the group’s favorable financial performance.

Net result

The net result for the period stands at EUR 86.9 million, marking an increase of EUR 34.3 million compared to the prior year. This strong financial performance can be attributed to the sustained growth in operational efficiency, the favorable impact of financial support income buoyed by rising interest rates, and the effective implementation of SD Worx’s strategic buy-and-build policy.

Activity overview

SD Worx

In 2023, SD Worx solidified its position as a leading European end-to-end HR solutions provider, surpassing the one-billion-euro revenue mark and maintaining robust double-digit growth. For detailed financials, please see the February earnings release of SD Worx.
Last year marked a milestone for WorxInvest with the induction of CVC as a strategic minority shareholder in SD Worx. CVC’s expertise in mergers and acquisitions, financial markets, global operations, and digital transformation is poised to propel SD Worx’s ambitious expansion plans.

Other direct investments

WorxInvest continues to execute its direct investment strategy, securing strategic stakes as a long-term anchor investor in both private and public entities.

Gimv

In a landmark deal last November, WorxInvest signed a share purchase agreement to acquired 27.81% interest in Gimv, a European investment firm listed on Euronext Brussels. As a committed minority shareholder, WorxInvest pledges full support to Gimv’s endeavors, ensuring stability and regional anchorage in Flanders of Gimv. WorxInvest intends to realize its direct private equity investment strategy through Gimv. The completion of the Gimv transaction is anticipated shortly, subject to regulatory approvals.

I3-Group

In April 2023, WorxInvest entered into the share capital of the i3-Group with headquarters in Diest, Belgium.  Alongside majority shareholder Gert Van Erum, i3 will use the capital to drive the development of its international growth strategies, targeted M&A and strengthen i3-Group's leading market position in the education and visual communication sectors via the Vanerum brand.  

Indirect investments

Throughout 2023, WorxInvest further expanded its portfolio by investing in top-tier buyout and growth funds across Europe and North America, aligning with its strategy of indirect investments in private equity to build out a diversified portfolio across strategies, geographies and sectors, while maintaining a superior risk-return profile. Notable commitments include Alpine Investors IX and Inflexion Partnership Capital Fund III.

Real Estate

WorxInvest has completed the architectural plans with Sergison Bates and Bulk for the construction of the new SD Worx headquarters adjacent to the Scheldt river. This development is set to achieve the highest standards of sustainability, targeting the BREEAM Outstanding rating.

External Audit

The statutory auditor, Deloitte Bedrijfsrevisoren BV, represented by Ben Vandeweyer, confirmed that the audit of the company’s consolidated financial statements, prepared in according with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) as adopted for use in the European Union, and with the legal and regulatory requirements applicable in Belgium, is substantially completed. The statutory auditor confirmed the Financial Results are derived from the consolidated financial statements at 31 December 2023, which have been prepared in accordance with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) as adopted for use in the European Union.