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Investors UCB financials

Key financial performances

FY2020 (31 December 2020), if not indicated otherwise

In 2020 revenue reached € 5 347 million up by 9% (+8% CER). Net sales went up to € 5 052 million by 8% (+7% CER). Net sales before “designated hedging reclassified to net sales” were up by 5% (+7% CER). This growth was driven by the enduring growth of UCB’s core products. 

CER: constant exchange rate

Adjusted (recurring) EBITDA* was driven by higher marketing and selling – due to launches and pre-launch activities – higher research and development expenses – due to additions to the pipeline and the pipeline progress – compensated by positive other operating earnings due to partnering, reaching € 1 441 million (+1%; -4% CER).

In compliance with the ESMA Alternative Performance Measures guidelines, “recurring EBITDA” was renamed into “adjusted EBITDA”. The calculation methodology remains unchanged.

Core earnings per share reached € 5.36 after € 5.20 in 2019 based on an average of 189 million shares outstanding.

Upcoming report

DateEvent details
24 February
2021 Full-Year ResultsDetails closer to the date

Outlook 2021

Based on UCB’s current assessment of the COVID-19 pandemic, UCB remains confident in the fundamental underlying demand for its products and its prospects for long-term growth. UCB will continue to closely follow evolving COVID-19 pandemic diligently to assess potential near- and mid-term challenges.

The figures of the outlook 2021 as mentioned below were calculated on the same basis as the actual figures for 2020.

2021 revenue

€ 5.45 – 5.65 billion

thanks to current core product growth and new patient populations being served

Adjusted EBITDA 

27% - 28%

reflecting the high R&D and marketing & sales investment levels

Core earnings per share

€ 5.60 - € 6.10

based on an average of 189 million shares outstanding

Peak sales guidance

Vimpat® peak sales

≥ € 1.5 billion by 2022

Cimzia® peak sales

≥ € 2 billion by 2024 

Briviact® peak sales

≥ € 600 million in 2026

Vimpat® continues to reach more and more people living with epilepsy, reflected in strong growth in all regions, despite the pandemic. Net sales went up to € 1 451 million (+10%; +12% CER).

Cimzia® net sales reached € 1 799 million (+5%; +7% CER). Strongest growth contributors were new patient populations in psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

Briviact® for people living with epilepsy, reached net sales of € 288 million, a plus of 31%, (+33% CER), driven by significant growth in all regions. Briviact® has a different mode of action from Vimpat® and differentiates from Keppra®.

Where we aim to be in 2025+

Leadership in 5 specific patient populations by 2025

  1. Partial onset / focal epileptic seizures – Keppra®, Vimpat®, Briviact®, Nayzilam®, Staccato® Alprazolam1
  2. Psoriatic arthritis – Cimzia® & bimekizumab1
  3. Woman of childbearing age – Cimzia® & Keppra®2
  4. Osteoporosis-related fractures –Evenity®3
  5. Myasthenia gravis – zilucoplan1 & rozanolixizumab1

2025 financial outlook

  • at least € 6 billion top line
  • low – mid-thirties EBITDA margin

2030 green targets 

  •  Be carbon neutral
  • -20% water withdrawal
  • -25% waste production

(base 2015)



More financials...

Revenue in 2020 reached € 5 347 million up by 9% (+8% at constant exchange rates (CER)). Net sales went up to € 5 052 million by 8% (+7% CER). Net sales before “designated hedging reclassified to net sales” were up by 5% (+7% CER). This growth was driven by the enduring growth of UCB’s core products. 

The growth in 2020 was driven by the resilient UCB product portfolio - despite the pandemic – driving company growth.

Two medicines were added to the UCB portfolio:

  • In December 2019, UCB launched Nayzilam® Nasal SprayCIV, the first and only nasal rescue treatment for epilepsy seizure clusters in the U.S.  
  • Starting in March 2020, Evenity® had its first European launches under pandemic conditions for the treatment of severe osteoporosis in postmenopausal women at high risk of fracture.

Operating expenses went up to € 2 891 million reflecting digital business transformation, higher marketing and selling as well as higher research and development expenses. Operating expense ratio (total operating expenses in relation to revenue) increased to 54% after 50% in 2019.

  • 10% higher marketing and selling expenses of € 1 221 million, , driven by launches and pre-launch activities: Cimzia®, in non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis in the U.S. and the launches in China and Japan, Nayzilam® in the U.S., Evenity® in Europe as well as launch preparations for bimekizumab for people living with psoriasis, zilucoplan and rozanolixizumab in myasthenia gravis.
  • 23% higher research and development expenses of € 1 569 million include the first time the R&D expenses for the acquired Ra Pharma, Engage Therapeutics and Handl Therapeutics R&D programs as well as termination costs of padsevonil in focal onset seizures. Ongoing high investments in UCB’s progressing pipeline encompass five late stage assets, including expenses in connection with digital transformation for better patient experience and faster development time. Slightly lower R&D expenses due to the pandemic related recruitment pause in the first half 2020 were compensated by higher pandemic related expenses for the safety of patients as well as ensuring patient recruitment in the second half of the year. Hence the R&D ratio reached 29% in 2020 after 26% in 2019.
  • With +1% almost stable general and administrative expenses of € 196 million, reflecting lower costs due to COVID-19 pandemic compensated by digital business transformation activities and the contribution to the UCB fund (€ 5 million) in connection with COVID-19 pandemic.
  • other operating income doubled to € 95 million, after € 48 million in 2019 - driven by an income of € 96 million in connection of the commercialization of Evenity® in collaboration with Amgen, after an income of € 8 million in 2019, compensating mainly UCB’s marketing & selling as well as R&D expenses. UCB’s share to the total Evenity®  contribution has turned to positive earnings for the first time. In 2019, “other” operating items were impacted by one-time positive contributions from investment grants, the divestiture of the campus in Germany and release of VAT provisions.

Net financial debt of € -1 515 million as per end June 2021 compared to net financial debt of € -1 411 million as of end December 2020, mainly relates to the debt incurred in connection with the acquisition of Ra Pharmaceuticals, Inc in 2020 and the partial refinancing thereof.  Net debt [Non-current and current borrowings and bank overdrafts less debt securities, restricted cash deposit with respect to nancial lease agreements, cash and cash equivalents.] ratio (net debt to adjusted EBITDA) is 1.01 as per 30 June 2021.

Debt financing

UCB has established a Euro Medium Term Note (EMTN) Program for its long-term funding needs which enables UCB to issue unsecured bonds with a tenor of minimum 1 year within a € 5 billion program.

As from 2009 UCB successfully implemented a debt diversification and refinancing strategy. The company issued bonds that are outstanding bonds per 30 June 2021:

In addition to these bonds, UCB entered into a USD 2.07 billion bullet floating rate syndicated term loan maturing in 2025, in connection with the acquisition of Ra Pharmaceuticals, Inc and of which USD 1.315 billion remained outstanding on 30 June 2021.

UCB has also the availability of a € 1 billion revolving credit facility, due 2025.


The evolution of cash flow generated by biopharmaceuticals activities is affected by the following:

  • Cash flow from operating activities from continuing operations amounted to € 1 081 million compared to € 893 million in 2019. The cash inflow stems from underlying net profitability, deferred income, higher outstanding payables in the last quarter, offset with higher commercial inventory, higher receivables after a strong Q4 2020.
  • Cash flow from investing activities showed an outflow of € 2 228 million, compared to € 235 million in 2019 and includes the net of cash acquisition of Ra Pharma Inc and Engage Therapeutics Inc (€ 1 986 million), capital expenditures (€ 349 million), offset with the sale of non-core assets and investments (€ 114 million).
  •  Cash flow from financing activities had an inflow of € 1 177 million, which includes the proceeds from borrowings mainly related to the acquisition of Ra Pharma (€ 1 895 million), proceeds from private placement (€ 150 million) offset with the dividend paid to UCB shareholders (€ -235 million), the acquisition of treasury shares (€ -106 million), the 2013 retail bond maturing (€ -250 million) and interest payments.