Rovi's operating revenue increased by 53% to 463.5 million euros in the first nine months of 2021, driven by the strength of the contract manufacturing organisation business, which grew by 187%, and by the specialty pharmaceutical business, where sales rose 18%. Total revenue increased by 53% to 464.5 million euros in the first nine months of 2021.
EBITDA increased to 139.5 million euros in the first nine months of 2021, a rise of 100% compared to the same period of the previous year, reflecting a 7.0 percentage point increase in the EBITDA margin, which was up to 30.1% in the first nine months of 2021 from 23.1% in the first nine months of 2020. EBITDA excluding expenses related to COVID-19 ("recurrent EBITDA") increased to 141.0 million euros in the first nine months of 2021, a rise of 94% compared to the same period of the previous year, reflecting a 6.3 percentage point increase in the recurrent EBITDA margin, which was up to 30.4% in the first nine months of 2021 from 24.1% in the first nine months of 2020.
CMO sales increased by 187% to 180.2 million euros in the first nine months of 2021 as a result of (i) the booking of the income related to the production of the COVID-19 vaccine, (ii) the booking of the income related to the activities to prepare the plant for the COVID19 vaccine production under the agreement with Moderna, and (iii) the redirection of our contract manufacturing activities strategy towards high-value-added products. Likewise, in the year 2021, ROVI expects the toll manufacturing business to increase by between 2 and 2.5 times, including production of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Numerous investments contribute to a significant increase in the production capacities of industrial sites:
Javier López-Belmonte Encina, First VicePresident and Chief Financial Officer of ROVI, said "We are very happy with the results of the first nine months of 2021. We have been able to deliver operating revenue growth of 53% in a difficult environment thanks to the strength of our contract manufacturing organization business, which continues to enjoy good sales prospects, and an EBITDA margin rise of 7.0 percentage points, mainly as a result of the operating leverage contribution of our CMO business."
For 2022, ROVI expects a mid-single-digit growth rate for the operating revenue. As a result of the expansion of the collaboration between ROVI and Moderna, in May the Company announced that, for 2021, they expected to achieve the higher end of this range. In July, ROVI upgraded its operating revenue guidance for the full year 2021 from the higher end of the 20% to 30% range to the range between 35% and 40%. With the visibility that the Company has at this moment, ROVI is upgrading its 2021 operating revenue guidance from the range between 35% and 40% to the 40% and 45% range.