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Tuesday 02 March 2021

Accenture makes 3rd UK acquisition of 2021: Cirrus

AAccenture logoccenture announced three regional acquisitions yesterday, highlighting its continued move to add depth and breadth to its capabilities, so that it can offer its clients transformation at greater pace and scale. One of the three is headquartered in the UK. Cirrus, a leadership, and talent consultancy is based in Wilmslow, Cheshire, while also having a footprint in Australia.

The 70 employees will join Accenture’s Talent & Organisation/Human Potential team. The same team has also benefited from two other acquisitions of late: Future State in February, and Kate Kesler in 2020. Those were both US-headquartered.

Cirrus, which was founded by Dr Simon Hayward in 2010, brings leadership, talent, and engagement expertise to help develop leaders seeking business transformation, including cloud and platform delivery. Notably, Accenture highlights the company’s digital learning capabilities as being a particularly valuable addition to the fold. Hayward is a leadership thought leader, author, and honorary Professor at the Alliance Manchester Business School.

Cirrus is the third acquisition that Accenture has made in the UK this year. Edenhouse (see Accenture acquires SAP specialists, Edenhouse) and Infinity Works (see Accenture acquires again in UK&I: Infinity Works) were both acquired last month.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole at 09:46

Tags: acquisition   M&A   digital   leadership  

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Tuesday 02 March 2021

Intertek optimistic about FY21 demand

Intere logoTowards the end of 2020 Intertek, the provider of  integrated Assurance, Testing, Inspection and Certification (ATIC) services, was able to show how demand had picked up during the latter half of the difficult year. It also said it expected the yoy sales decline would be limited to the mid-single digit level (see here). Full year results (to 02 March 2021) reflect the H2 improvement but revenue decline across the full year was a little steeper than anticipated.

For FY20 revenue was £2.74bn representing an 8.2% (6.7% cc) decline with Operating Profit of £378m, a 22.1% fall. However, at £1.41bn H2 revenue delivered a 6% increase, while operating profit for the period expanded 57% to £231m, in part due to cautious management. The H2 uptick bodes well for FY21, indicating the increased weighting of resilience, and health, safety, wellbeing and sustainability on corporate agendas. 

The pandemic made the case for Total Quality Assurance clearer so with demand for TQA set for solid growth over the coming years, plus Intertek’s its ability to bridge technology and physical boundaries, the company is well positioned to benefit from this trend. It expects the TQA market to grow faster than pre-COVOD and open up an array of new opportunities around safer, more diversified supply chains with greater traceability, improved intelligence and increased resilience; lower carbon economy, stay‐local lifestyles, more remote working, distance learning and online shopping; and better personal safety, higher health, hygiene and wellbeing standards and greater investment in healthcare. Work carried out during 2020 to scale up its Cyber Assured Program should also drive demand.

Sustainability is also a central part of its remit - and of more concern to customers too - so as well as  launching CarbonClear, “the world's first independent carbon-intensity certification programme”, Intertek also became carbon neutral in 2020 and as part of the UN Race to Zero campaign is targeting Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

Posted by: Angela Eager at 09:29

Tags: results   quality   cybersecurity   sustainability  

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Tuesday 02 March 2021

Derbyshire chooses Orion Health for shared care record

Orion Health logoDerby and Derbyshire has become the latest region to choose a supplier to develop a shared health and care record, selecting Orion Health in a deal with a total contract value of c£7.2m.

Joined Up Care Derbyshire, the area’s Integrated Care System (ICS), is contracting via Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust on behalf of health and social care organisations across Derbyshire. According to Trust papers, the contract, which includes a shared care record and analytics platform, has a maximum possible term of ten years but the initial phase is a six-month proof of concept followed by a three-year period.

All regions in England are required to develop a shared care record with the aim now to take the first step – have a ‘minimum viable solution’ – by September this year. The solution from Orion Health should mean Derby and Derbyshire meets this requirement and can begin to deliver more joined up care, with NHS and local authority social care organisations able to access the same records to support their patients. Other suppliers active in the sector include UK SME Graphnet Health, which in January added Swindon and Wiltshire to its growing customer base for integrated care records.

For more on the suppliers, trends and outlook for the UK healthcare software and IT services market PublicSectorViews subscribers can download our UK Health Supplier & Market Analysis report published in November. If you don’t yet subscribe to PublicSectorViews and you’d like details of our 2021 subscription packages our Client Services team would love to help – just email info@techmarketview.com.

Posted by: Tola Sargeant at 09:28

Tags: contract   software   socialcare   integratedcare   healthcare  

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Tuesday 02 March 2021

Remote working drives 10% CloudCoCo growth

Remote working drives 10% CloudCoCo growthA surge in demand for telephony, collaboration, connectivity and security solutions precipitated by the sudden and rapid transition to remote working in 2020 pushed CloudCoCo’s FY20 revenue up 10% year on year to £8m.

The rebranded ICT services group (formerly Adept4) expanded its recurring service turnover 5% to £5.4m in the twelve month period ending September 2020, and even managed to add £20k to its professional services business (up 3% yoy to £719k). Product sales saw the fastest growth however, accelerating 31% yoy to £1.8m boosted by sales of communications hardware to newly established home workers and managed security service (MSS) customers including fashion accessory retailer boohoo and a major UK car dealership.

CloudCoCo cites total contract value (TCV) as an important measure of its health, a figure that almost doubled to £5.2m in FY20 from £2.7m in FY19 after the signing of several new deals with contract lengths of 36-60 months. If there are any shadows on the company’s horizon it was is a second half of the year which fell considerably short of performance in the first. Interim revenue was reported to have soared 44% yoy to £4.4m last June, which by our calculations means H2 revenue came in at £800k less (£3.6m).

We think a big spike in demand for remote working communications hardware and software when the pandemic first bit had an impact there and it will now be interesting to see if CloudCoCo can achieve the same momentum in H121.

Management pointed to a strong start, with EBITDA in the first four months already exceeding the £261k delivered by FY20 as a whole. Contract renewals with Baywater Healthcare, Vantage Motor Group and a major university will help, but we guess there will come a point in the very near future when product turnover dials down leaving CloudCoCo’s service revenue to take up the slack.

Posted by: Martin Courtney at 09:06

Tags: results   communications   ICT   telephony   MSSP   FY20  

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Tuesday 02 March 2021

Darktrace - New NED, New Chairman

DarktraceIn the runup to Darktrace’s IPO on the London Stock Exchange, the 76 year old Sir Peter Bonfield has been appointed as an NED.

Any trawl through HotViews, and its predecessors, will indicate my views on Bonfield. Maybe my headline Reward for Failure provides a clue.   Bonfield was Chairman and CEO of ICL (now Fujitsu) from 1984 to 1995 when, in my opinion, they missed so many opportunities to be a global tech leader. In 1996, Bonfield was appointed CEO at BT – leaving in 2002. Yet another period of missed opportunities and mis-steps for which BT is still suffering to this day. Since leaving BT, Bonfield has pursued a plural career.

Conversely, Gordon Hurst who joined Darktrace as an NED last year, will replace Robert Webb as Darktrace’s Chairman. Hurst served as CFO at Capita from 1988 to 2015. Together with Sir Rod Aldridge and Paul Pindar, Hurst IPOed Capita and grew it from a £2m revenue consultancy to a member of the FTSE100 with a market value exceeding £7b. He presided over a period when Capita was awarded a rare Holway Boring Award for 10+ years of consistent EPS growth – indeed they never showed a reversal in EPS in the whole time Hurst managed their finances. There are precious few FDs with such a record.

What contrasting records…

Posted by: Richard Holway at 09:03

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Tuesday 02 March 2021

*UKHotViewsExtra* Pandemic pressures stifle Civica’s streak

Civica logoCivica’s revenue for the year ended 30 September 2020 fell by 0.1% to £424.9m (2019: £425.6m)—the first time it hasn't achieved year-on-year revenue growth since the Civica brand was launched in 2002. The first half of the financial year saw strong growth, but this slowed in the second half as the pandemic hit. Overall, however, business held up well without recourse to any government schemes and it retained its unbroken record of profit growth.

Gross profit improved by 0.4% to £346.4m (2019: £345.1m), operating profit before amortisation and exceptional items was up 6.5% to £85.6m (2019: £80.4m), and EBITDAE improved by 4.6% to £93.1m (2019: £89.1m). EBITDAE margin improved to 21.9% (2019: 21.2%) as its Centum operational excellence programme continued to make progress.

Revenue in the UK, which represented 77% of total revenue, grew slightly to £327.6m (2019: 327.3m). Revenue from its Australia and SE Asia business fell 2% to £90.0m (2019: £91.8m), but its smaller North American business improved by 14.5% to £7.4m.

UKHV Premium logoAlthough the pandemic brought significant challenges, it has accelerated digital transformation in the public sector and has led to greater acceptance of cloud-based solutions. Civica has demonstrated resilience during the crisis and is strongly positioned to benefit from associated market changes (e.g. 75% of new customers sales in 2020 were cloud-based).

TechMarketView subscribers, including those signed up to UKHotViewsPremium can read more about Civica's performance and prospects here. If you are not yet a subscriber, please contact Deb Seth to find out how to access this and much more.

Posted by: Dale Peters at 08:32

Tags: results   saas   software   covid-19   public+sector  

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Tuesday 02 March 2021

*NEW RESEARCH* Fintech Innovation "New Kids on the Block"

FintechAs highlighted by the recently published "Kalifa Review", the UK financial services industry has become one of the most vibrant spaces for technology innovation and emerging business models.

With the pace of transformation set to accelerate in the wake of the pandemic, the disruptive influence of the UK's fintech community will have a key role to play in helping drive change and enhance service provision across the industry.   

Fintech Innovation "New Kids on the Block" takes a look at a selection of some of the UK's most interesting and innovative fintechs. The publication is aimed at both TechMarketView's community of end-user financial services providers and at specialist SITS vendors.

Subscribers to FinancialServicesViews can download Fintech Innovation "New Kids on the Block" now. If you are not already a subscriber, but would like access to this research or any other title, please contact Deb Seth for more information.

Posted by: Jon C Davies at 07:21

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Tuesday 02 March 2021

Unlock Your Potential with a subscription to UKHotViews Premium

Unlock Your Potential with a subscription to UKHotViews Premium

Posted by: HotViews Editor at 00:00

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Monday 01 March 2021

Trustpilot chooses London for its IPO

Trustpilot

For decades I have been bemoaning the shortage of tech IPOs on the London Stock Exchange. But lately the tide really does appear to be turning.

Last month Moonpig was given an excellent reception. See London gives rapturous reception to Moonpig. We expect Deliveroo, Darktrace, Transferwise and Music Magpie to IPO in London the coming weeks and months.

London got another boost today when Trustpilot choose London for its IPO. This is even more significant as Trustpilot is HQed in Copenhagen. An IPO in Amsterdam or New York might have been expected.  Trustpilot is another company that has had ‘A good C-19’ as consumers turn to online recommendations and reviews for products and services.

Revenues rose 25% last year to $102m. A valuation in excess of £1b is anticipated.  

Posted by: Richard Holway at 22:41

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Monday 01 March 2021

Zoom continues to Zoom

ZoomIt’s not often that we report on a company that boosts sales by 369% to $882.5m in Q4. Oh, and EPS rose 9x yoy. For the year revenues were up 326% at $2.6b and profits grew from $21.7m in 2019 to $671.5m in 2020. Revenues of around $3.8b are expected in 2021.

Probably the only company that could do that was Zoom – perhaps THE company that has epitomised the C-19 lockdown. Indeed, a rare company that has become a verb. We all Google. Now we all Zoom! Zoom is not just a business application. It is used widely by consumers and by schools too. Indeed by Government departments and Prime Ministers as well.

It’s got a good business mode. Free for individuals. But if you want to use it for many people or for long periods of time or its really useful add-on features, it becomes a paid-for service. And, as the results showed, paying customers grew by 470% to 467,100 in the quarter. There are still concerns that, with the vaccine rollout and a return to office work, Zoom will lose its popularity. I suspect not. Although this peak growth may not be repeated, I think that ‘zooming’ is here to stay. Why spend hours travelling for a 30 minute meeting when you can cram in many more in a day from the comfort of your own home?

Zoom shares, already up 350% in the last year, were up nearly 10% in trading today and rose another 8.4% after-hours as the results were announced.

Posted by: Richard Holway at 22:26

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Monday 01 March 2021

Backers team up to help Wurkr beat Teams

logoIf you can imagine trying to explain Microsoft Teams to a CBeebies audience you’d probably end up with something that resembles the promo videos for London-based ‘office in the cloud’ start-up, Wurkr.

I’ve had a quick squizz at their website and I can’t easily see what it offers that’s better than Teams (et al). When I checked the pricing page, they have four plans all at £0 per month (until further notice) and I was be bemused to learn that their second-level Standard plan (up to 49 people) is their most popular. The PR says that Wurkr has 88k subscribers in 2,400 organisations across the UK and India.

Founded in 2017 and launched the following year, Wurkr has raised £1m in seed money, comprising a £700k investment from Hindustan Media Ventures, £100k from an angel, funds from a convertible loan note, and a £150k crowdfunding raise on Seedrs which valued the company at £8.5m.

Cheap at half the price, I’d say (until further notice, that is).

Posted by: Anthony Miller at 19:37

Tags: funding   startup  

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Monday 01 March 2021

MindTrace tackles AI/ML model challenges

Mind Trace logoManchester startup MindTrace  has come a fair way since we last wrote about the company in 2017.  Back then, it had raised £1.3m seed funding to build a prototype collision avoidance system for cars. Fast forward to 2021 and Skylake Capital has led a £2.1m funding round with participation from Bloc Ventures and existing investor Mercia Asset Management.

MindTrace’s focus has changed – it now identifies smart devices, manufacturing defect detection and infrastructure inspection as market opportunities – but the technology base remains, Brain-Sense. The AI/ML Brain-Sense product is positioned to make  deployment faster and more accessible, and with support for “continuous AI learning” also addresses the problem of keeping models up to date post deployment. To achieve these goals it uses unlabelled data to carry out initial model training, supplemented with a small amount of labelled data to improve the output – thereby tackling one of the more time consuming aspects of AI/ML model creation. It also brings federated learning across multiple platforms and compatibility with other AI/ML systems, along with the ability to rebuild models on a continuous basis through which it also tackles the problem of ongoing model relevance.

It sounds like an ambitious but appealing offering, although it is not clear how much market traction is has as yet. However, the funding will be used to accelerate the product roadmap and bolster go-to-market capabilities, including strategic partnerships.

Posted by: Angela Eager at 17:00

Tags: funding   startup   software   AI   ML  

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Monday 01 March 2021

The Panoply 'Keep(s) IT Simple' with its biggest acquisition

Until now, the Panoply logofocus of The Panoply has been on user research, design, prototyping, and development (discovery, alpha, beta). However, today, the Group announced an acquisition – its largest to date – which adds capability in IT support managed services, as well as transformation services and service integration and management (SIAM). Like The Panoply, Keep IT Simple (KITS) provides its services to the public sector; existing clients include the Rural Payments Agency and DEFRA.

The Panoply is paying solo shareholder Grant Harris a total consideration of £26m (plus £4.9m in respect of excess cash) for the company, in a mix of cash and shares. Unaudited results show that KITS delivered revenues of £9.7m in the year to 31st December 2020 and adjusted EBITDA and adjusted net PBT of £2.7m. It also boasts a contract backlog of £30.3m to be recognised between 2021 and 2024.

KITS will be integrated into The Panoply’s Foundry4 business, the “deep tech, engineering-focused” division of the Group, which focuses on CTOs/CIOs looking to enable digital transformation through the adoption of new and emerging technologies. Grant Harris, CEO of KITS will become MD of the newly formed Managed Services’ division within Foundry4. The Panoply will benefit as it will be able to offer an end-to-end offering to clients. This will result it in bidding for multi-year projects with a value “several multiples higher” than those it can currently pursue. We can, therefore, expect to see The Panoply extend its average length of client relationship and boost the proportion of recurring revenues. This will be a different type of pursuit by the company and will require a different approach. More than any acquisition made to date, it will require the different parts of Foundry4 to work together effectively to present to clients a seamless picture.

The Panoply is now confident of its ability to be able to reach its target of £100m revenue run rate by 31st March 2023. With the addition of KITS, The Panoply expects revenue and adjusted EBITDA in its current financial year to be “not less than” £48.5m and £6.6m, respectively. Along with predicted organic growth, further acquisitions will contribute. To fund the acquisition of KITS, the Group has extended its revolving credit facility with HSBC; within the new facility, £7m will be available for further acquisitions.

Posted by: Georgina O'Toole at 10:00

Tags: acquisition   M&A   SIAM   service management   managedITservices   public+sector  

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Monday 01 March 2021

SCC EMEA achieves AWS Advanced Partner status

sccSCC EMEA has been awarded Advanced Partner status with Amazon Web Services (AWS) for its combined capabilities in the UK and France. It has taken the firm just under 12 months to reach this level and demonstrates what is achievable when it combines its expertise and capabilities across countries.

In the UK, SCC’s Cloud Practice, OWORX, was central to helping the firm reach Advanced Partner status. I caught up with the team behind the practice when it launched just last year as a separate brand see: SCC’s Oworx brand is clever cloud pivot. Of note is that Oworx supports Public Cloud only and does not deliver services around SCC’s own private clouds or other service areas. Wider services opportunities are handled by SCC consultants asow part of a single account/service delivery team supported by a common ticketing system, with Oworx feeding into that wider team. 

The AWS Advanced Consulting Partner tier recognises consulting partners that have excelled in providing successful solutions on AWS. This includes providing extensive training to teams, having a very thorough knowledge of AWS to manage projects effectively, and taking clients to market with innovative, revenue-generating solutions. SCC is a Public Sector Partner, Solution Provider, and Advanced Consulting Partner to AWS, with this latest recognition evidence that the resale-heritage firm is continuing to evolve in the cloud market.

Posted by: Kate Hanaghan at 09:50

Tags: cloud   AWS   PublicCloud  

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Monday 01 March 2021

*UKHotViewsExtra* Kalifa Review outlines support for UK fintechs

KalifaA major independent report, examining the future of the UK fintech sector, “The Kalifa Review” has now been published, revealing a forward-looking strategy to support technology innovators in financial services. Commissioned by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, the review was conducted by Bank of England non-executive director, Ron Kalifa OBE.

The report contains a variety of recommendations, divided into 5 main areas. Together these proposals set out a comprehensive vision for the future of financial services innovation, designed to help the UK to compete more successfully on the world stage, HVPin the wake of Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic.

TechMarketView clients, including UKHotViewsPremium subscribers can learn more by downloading the UKHotViewsExtra Kalifa Review outlines support for UK fintechs.

If you are not currently a subscriber but would like to learn more, please contact Deb Seth.

Posted by: Jon C Davies at 09:50

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Monday 01 March 2021

Teleperformance sees revenue grow but profits decline

TPDespite the impact of COVID customer management outsourcer Teleperformance saw its strongest like for like revenue growth to date, up 11.6% to €5.73bn (FY19 €5.36bn) in 2020. However, profitability was down 0.9% with EBITDA of €1,13bn (FY19 €1,14m) impacted by a near shut down of certain operations in the first half of last year.

Despite being exposed to a wide variety of clients operating in challenged verticals – hotels, travel, transport etc. Teleperformance has managed to grow significantly above the wider contact centre market – a good benchmark given how all were impacted by the pendemic. Crucially, it appears to have been making strides in digitising if offer with significant investment made in digital channels and automation technologies. All vital stuff if the sector is to overcome an increasingly commoditised offer.

Unfortunately, TP doesn’t split out the UK results but did go onto to say that its business here had seen significant growth in Q4 driven in part to the Government’s response to COVID and momentum in e-tailing.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick at 09:49

Tags: results   customerexperience  

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Monday 01 March 2021

VR Education Engages with VR for education and enterprises

VR Education logoAs the name suggests, VR Education is in the business of providing VR technology to the education sector but as the core capability is a virtual communications platform it is just as relevant for commercial organisations. In business since 2014 and AIM listed since 2018, management describes 2020 as a “formative” year as the COVID-19 situation accelerated demand for its core Engage platform, to support remote working, online learning and virtual events.

The company, headquartered in Ireland, has just released FY20 results (to 31 December 2020) that show substantial customer expansion across the year: 60 commercial deals  were signed during 2020, including many blue chip names, compared to three in the prior year. Consequently, revenue increased 38% to €1.4m, although as would be expected at this stage of development losses deepened, with an EBITDA loss of €2.1m compared to the €1.4m of 2019. At the end of the year it had cash of €2.0m and no debt.

VR is still an early stage market but as need and VR developments align, there are a growing number of specialist VR providers benefitting from COVID lockdowns and movement restrictions, while software and services providers like Civica are moving to identify and release the value from immersive technologies. VR Education has moved fast to meet changing needs. For example, before 2020 it only ran on PC based VR devices which was a barrier to growth, but launched ENGAGE Mobile on Android phones and tablets in July 2020 and the iOS version for iPhones and iPads in December 2020.  These releases mean virtual events can be hosted without a VR headset or device, which expands the addressable user base as it enables increased use of ENGAGE by large corporations to host virtual events. There are some neat features too, such as spatial audio that means individuals can talk privately to other attendees, going some way towards emulating the freeform networking of face-to-face conferences. 

VR Education does not  have a significant footprint in the UK as yet but the management team is anticipating growth from pent up demand. It is progressing in Asia-Pac via partnership with HTC. Other partners include Sky Ireland, Tokyo Global Gateway and Victory XR in the US. As 2021 progresses, the focus is on building the sales organisation and partnerships. Sales have started well: Engage revenue in the first seven weeks of 2021 represented 50% of total 2020 Engage revenue. 

Posted by: Angela Eager at 09:49

Tags: results   software   VR   immersivetechnologies  

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Monday 01 March 2021

Craneware confident on outlook as returns to growth

Craneware logoCraneware - the AIM-listed, Edinburgh-based provider of financial and operational optimisation software and analytics to the US healthcare industry - has returned to revenue growth after a flat FY20 despite the impact of Covid-19. Interim results for the six months to 31 Dec, reveal a 6% increase in revenue to $38m and 5% growth in adjusted EBITDA to $13.3m.

Key indicators bode well for future performance too. New Sales, for example, are more than 30% ahead of the same period last year; more than 500 hospitals – almost a third of its customers - are now using Craneware’s cloud-based Trisus platform; and total visible revenues for the three-years to June 2023 are 9% higher than a year ago at $206.4m.  In addition, the board reports a strong sales pipeline for the current FY and beyond and remains confident of the outlook for the full year as a result.

For healthcare providers to the US market, the need for greater insight into the cost of care, associated margins and the value being derived is as high as ever, and Craneware is well-positioned to support them with its next-gen Trisus platform. We can therefore expect its growth strategy to remain focused around three fundamental pillars for the time being: transitioning customers to cloud-based versions of its on-premise solutions as a gateway to the Trisus platform; continued enhancements to the platform through both internal R&D and M&A; and expanding its customer footprint.

Posted by: Tola Sargeant at 09:40

Tags: results   software   healthcare  

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Monday 01 March 2021

CentralNic scaling rapidly

CentralNicFull year results from internet domain name and web services provider CentralNic, show the impact of its acquisition-led growth strategy, increasing revenue by 121% in 2020 to $241.2m (FY19 $109.2m). Profitability also grew significantly with adjusted EBITDA up by 71% to $30.6m (FY19 $17.9m). Organic growth was also decent and shows how resilient the “Internet Business” has been to COVID, with revenue increasing by 9% and adjusted EBITDA by 4%.

Since its IPO CentralNic has grown aggressively through a series of international acquisitions to become very much a “house of brands” in the domain services space (see herehere and here). The firm has consolidated a number of businesses in a highly fragmented market and now has more than 45m domains using at least one of its platforms (c.13% of domains worldwide). The trick is then to monetise these domains by layering on a diverse range of monetisation services, again bought in via acquisition, such as online marketing tools, advertising or brand protection. The revenue split now between domain name sales and domain name monetisation is roughly 50/50, almost all (99%) recurring.

Whilst success requires a healthy pipeline of suitable acquisitions that can be consolidated quickly and at low cost, it also needs the identification of an ever-greater range of services that clients want to buy. CentralNic has identified future revenue streams in areas such as hosting, social marketing, cybersecurity and brand protection and has already started the new year with a couple of significant deals. Here SafeBrands adds online brand protection to the portfolio whist Wando offers expertise in the fields of social marketing, display advertising and search engine marketing (SEM). Given its track record we can expect more deals of this nature in the pipeline.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick at 09:23

Tags: results   domainservices  

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