Vianet Group PLC – VNET – Final Results

Vianet Group PLC – VNET – Final Results

Vianet Group plc (AIM: VNET), the international provider of actionable data and business insight through devices connected to its Internet of Things platform ("IOT"), is pleased to announce its final results for the year ended 31 March 2021.


Financial highlights


·    Revenue fell 48% to £8.37m (FY2020: £16.28m) reflecting impact of COVID-19.

·    Recurring revenues remained strong at 89% (FY2020: 92%).

·    Gross margin remained robust at c. 60% (FY2020: c. 68%).

·    Adjusted operating loss, pre-exceptional costs, amortisation and share based payments, limited to £0.69m (FY2020: £4.03m profit) reflecting proactive response to severe impact of C19 on the Group's markets.

·    Profit before taxation was a loss of £2.82m (FY2020: £2.40m profit), principally due to the impact of the pandemic and continued intangible amortisation of R&D costs.

·    Basic earnings per share was negative 6.75p (FY2020: 8.56p positive).

·    We ended the year with net borrowings of £2.66m (2020: £0.95m) and a gross cash balance of £1.89m (FY2020: £1.73m).  The Group has a further £1.5m available in its overdraft facility.

·    The Board considers it would not be appropriate to pay a final dividend as it is prudent to conserve cash until the trading recovery has gathered more momentum.


Divisional highlights


·    Smart Machines adjusted operating profit of £1.1m (FY2020: £1.53m).

·    Smart Machines added 7,200 new connected devices (FY2020: 12,059), impacted by pandemic restrictions, city centre office closures, and some customers taking a business decision to rationalise their estates.

·    Smart Machines continuing to create strong growth opportunities across UK and Europe. 

·    Smart Zones set to recover as a result of improving growth prospects both in the UK pub market and the US hospitality market, as well as gaining revenue momentum from its market and retail data insight services.


Commenting, James Dickson, Chairman of Vianet Group plc, said:

"The pandemic has provided Vianet with an opportunity to re-energise the organisation, underline our credentials and worth to customers, re-set our technology roadmap, and exit the storm in a strong position.

"As a business dependent on the hospitality and leisure sectors, the pandemic has been a challenging period for the Company. Despite this, we have navigated the challenges well, focusing on preserving cash and maintaining strong relations with our customers. Thanks to the success of these measures, plus the roll out of the vaccines and the easing of restrictions, the Company is coming out of the lockdown phases strongly and in a position to capitalise upon the excellent growth opportunities available, with normal trading in the UK across both divisions expected to return during H2 2022.

"In our Smart Machines division, unattended machines have been operating throughout the pandemic in sites for essential workers, with a material increase in the use of contactless payments. We fully expect this trend to continue post lockdown and, as such, we envisage further demand for remote connection to unattended retail assets. Although sales of new connected devices fell during the period, we have invested in our sales, commercial and marketing capability as well as in the product roadmap and we now have a pipeline of promising growth opportunities across the UK and Europe.

"Our Smart Zones division is set to recover in line with the UK pub and US hospitality markets, as well as gaining revenue momentum from its market and retail data insight services. As we exit the lockdown phases, our draught beer insights remain highly valuable for customers to understand trading performance and patterns and aid decision-making. We have already received orders and enquiries for installations of new systems, as well as exploring new services designed to help clients during these uncertain times.

"The ongoing investment in cloud infrastructure and mobile technology will also help to develop existing revenues and provide the scalability, flexibility and speed to support rapid growth in existing and potential new verticals. This investment has already proven successful in improving the speed at which we are able to execute elements of our growth plan. With the implementation of protective measures, implemented early in the pandemic, supported by the growing demand for IOT and the processing and understanding of customers' data, we remain confident in the Company's long-term strategy for growth and delivering value to shareholders.

"We look forward to updating the market on our further progress in due course."

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