An indication that its business turnaround plan implemented in 2012 is beginning to bear fruit, JSE-listed IT company SecureData Holdings reported strong revenue growth and a return to profitability for financial year (“FY”) ending July 2013 on Friday.
SecureData Holdings specialises in the business of keeping the electronic data of the country’s largest corporations safe, available, and reliable. The group reports for two subsidiaries: SecureData Africa, which is a distributor of high quality security products, and SensePost, which provides penetration and vulnerability assessments, as well as training, to the company’s partners.
Revenue grew by 30% from R222.2m in 2012 to R289.7m in 2013. The majority of this came from SecureData Africa, which grew revenue from R189.2m in 2012 to R252.9m in 2013, representing growth of 33.7%.
SensePost grew revenue by 8.9% from R33.5m to R36.5m over the same period.
“The SecureData Africa revenue from outside of South Africa was particularly pleasing ”, says CEO Miles Crisp, and added, “The emerging markets business grew by 90% and now comprises 20% of our entire business”.
The business returned to profitability at operational level following the implementation of the turnaround strategy. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (“EBITDA”) swung from a loss of R47.7m in 2012, to a profit of R0.039m in 2013. This was largely the result of higher revenues and a re-organistion of the product line-up that saw some products and services discontinued and new ones introduced.
EBITDA for SecureData Africa was -R0.259m representing an EBITDA margin of -0.1% and a major improvement on the R45.8m EBITDA loss incurred in 2012. SensePost grew EBITDA by 5% in 2013 to R8.4m from R8m in 2012. Margins declined slightly from 24% to 23.2% over the period. “I believe that we have struck the right balance between cutting unnecessary costs, and incurring new investment costs,” says Crisp, “so we think as the benefits of the changes come through for the full year going forward, we will steady improvement in the net margins”.
While group headcount was reduced from 140 to 104, payroll costs stayed largely the same as the composition of the workforce changed. The reduction of 36 people was made in the SecureData Africa team. “This business has always had sound technical skills, but during the period we brought in some experienced and high-calibre sales people to strengthen the team and improve the quality of the sales process,” says Crisp.
The net result saw the group post a profit for the year of R2.38m, which translated to headline earnings per share (“HEPS”) of 1c for 2013, following a HEPS loss of 15.2c in 2012. The business recapitalised itself by selling subsidiary SecureData Europe in 2012. A part of the proceeds were returned to shareholders by way of a capital reduction of 25cps in the previous financial year (equal to R61.6m) which was only paid out in the current financial year. This explains why the net cash position of the group now stands at R14.3m vs. 2012’s R89.6m.
Commenting on the performance, Crisp said, “We are satisfied that we have made progress this financial year in stabilising the business. After we conducted our review of the business last year and began implementing changes, we think we now have the right products, services, and people to take the business forward in the coming years”.