Sartorius Q1: Sales down, orders up as recovery continues

Sartorius has closed its first quarter positively “in line” with expectations but highlights China as a continued market weakness.

Millie Nelson, Editor

April 24, 2024

2 Min Read

For the first quarter 2024, Sartorius Stedim Biotech reported total sales of €820 million ($1 billion), a 9.4% decrease year-on-year. Order intake, meanwhile, increased by 9.8% compared to the previous year’s quarter.

The firm said the results were “in line with expectations” and noted the order increase demonstrates a “positive trend” that began at the end of the third quarter in 2023.

"In the first quarter we largely saw the projected muted start to the fiscal year and a mixed picture overall: Orders in our core business with consumables are picking up noticeably, signaling an advanced stage of inventory reduction on the customer side,” said Sartorius CEO Joachim Kreuzburg.

Along with its peers in the life sciences space, Sartorius has previously reported significant drops in demand for its equipment and media over past quarters as the headwinds from the end of two years of lucrative growth during the COVID-19 pandemic dwindled.

The company spoke of a “swift normalization of demand” back in October 2022 and a year later the firm said the demand recovery is visible but “proceeding […] slowly.”

Kreuzburg highlighted the cell and gene therapy (CGT) sector as a “major strategic focus” and said it is “developing well” but said it is a “very young field [with] somewhat higher volatility.”

The life sciences service firm outlined its confidence in CGTs in April 2023 and discussed how its $2.6 billion takeover of Polyplus would fit in with its plans. Sartorius started  bolstering its capabilities in the CGT space in 2019 through acquiring 50% of Biological Industrials. Two years later, it added media and growth factors to its toolkit when it took a majority stake in CellGenix.

Furthermore, in August 2022, the company forked out $500 million to add recombinant albumin (used to move chemically defined components in CGTs) through its acquisition of Albumedix.

In addition to the positive focus on CGTs, Kreuzburg noted “in contrast, customers, particularly in China and to some extent also in Europe, showed a pronounced reluctance to invest, which had a significant dampening effect on the order intake of our equipment business.”  

Sartorius labeled the order intake in China as a “continued market weakness” and said it has led to a decline in order intake of 4.8% and sales revenue by 10.4%. The firm said it anticipates business momentum to “gradually pick up from quarter to quarter and forecasts sales revenue growth in the mid to high single-digit percentage range.”

"We are content with the development of profitability. The EBITDA margin continues to be at a robust level, and we anticipate further effects from our efficiency programs in the coming months,” commented Kreuzburg.

About the Author(s)

Millie Nelson

Editor, BioProcess Insider

Journalist covering global biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing news and host of the Voices of Biotech podcast.

I am currently living and working in London but I grew up in Lincolnshire (UK) and studied in Newcastle (UK).

Got a story? Feel free to email me at [email protected]

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