TALKPOOL INTERIM REPORT JANUARY – MARCH 2017
|JAN 1st – MAR 31st 2017
- Operational profit, including all new costs, in March for the first time since IPO
- Successful acquisition and good start for Technetix in Q1.
- Break through with the strategic FTTH project in Germany.
- Accelerating trends in terms of growth and profitability in line with plans.
- Smart building IoT innovation assignment in Zürich.
- Good progress in the negotiations with further acquisition candidates.
- Improved customer base and geographic spread.
- Significant reduction of extraordinary SG&A costs for IR, M&A etc.
- Several top scores in customer satisfaction and service quality evaluations.
In Q1 2017 the positive growth from Q4 2016 continued, in spite of the cost savings trend in the telecom market. Our second acquisition was completed on the 3rd of January when we finalized the take over of 100% of the shares of Belgium based Technetix NV from Technetix Group Ltd, a leading global broadband cable network transmission technology provider. Technetix NV is offering repair and reversed engineering of telecom and IT equipment to telecom operators, internet- and cable TV service providers and IT companies. Technetix NV and the repair service it offers has been part of Technetix for over a decade and has continued to progress successfully and is continuing to gain new customers. After a strategic review, it was determined that the repair business would be better suited to accelerate growth and serve its customers if it was part of company more focused on the renewable maintenance market, like Talkpool. As part of the agreement, Talkpool has also entered into a partnership agreement with Technetix, whereby Technetix will continue to utilise the services offered by Talkpool going forward.
Our efforts in Germany also started paying off in Q1 as the FTTH planning project finally started to gain speed at the end of the quarter. The federal government in Germany plans to roll out a gigabit internet service across the country by 2025. The €100bn project will focus on bandwidth, security and response times, and Talkpool will be a part of this project. Development, including virtual reality and the internet of things, will bring huge data growth and the need for more bandwidth, reliable real-time transmission and intelligent networks.
Talkpool Mexico had a slow start of 2017 with very little project activities due to a combination of seasonality and the Trump effect, which made investors hesitant. At the end of Q1 the market started moving again and Talkpool Mexico’s investments in staff hiring, training and tools started to pay off.
During late 2016 and the beginning of 2017, Talkpool has celebrated break-throughs with several European network operators such as Deutsche Telekom, Belgacom, Vodafone and Orange – and order volumes have rapidly grown during the first months of 2017. This client segment, which represented no revenues a year ago, is now Talkpool’s fastest growing customer group and biggest opportunity. Europe generated almost a third of Talkpool’s overall orders in the first months of 2017”.
Network services order volumes from Digicel in the Caribbean have remained unchanged during many years but its share of the total order intake has been reduced to 37%, down from over 50% a year ago, as business is growing from other clients. Orders from China-based equipment vendor Huawei continue to increase while the share of orders from Swedish Ericsson, with whom Talkpool has a close relation, is continuing to decline.
After the breakthrough year 2016 the IoT market continued its development in a highly positive direction and Talkpool received a wide range of strategical orders, however the order volumes are still modest. Among other, Talkpool AG and Sigren Engineering AG were awarded an IoT smart building assignment for real estate in Zürich, Switzerland, hosting a large search engine company and other prime tenants. The project is considered strategically important. The order value is initially limited but has good opportunities to be expanded. A number of customer orders for Talkpool´s IoT temperature and humidity sensors were also received in Sweden. Furthermore, one of our Mexican customers awarded Talkpool an IoT project for monitoring.
Q1 is normally a slow period in the Telecom Network Services Business, when new projects are starting up after Christmas and new budgets are yet to be allocated. Although the planned projects for Q1 in Germany and Mexico were delayed in comparison to the original time plans of our customers, Talkpool nonetheless managed to secure a net sales growth of 41 percent in comparison to Q1 in 2016. The large increase is mainly explained by the acquisition of Camouflage in Q4 2016 and Technetix in Q1 2017, contributing with net sales in profitable niche network services areas of approximately EUR 590 thousand in Q1 2017.
Major investments, made to fuel the growth in Germany and Mexico, combined with currency losses higher than normal in January and February, had an adverse effect on the profit in Q1. Talkpool is working on currency hedging solutions to mitigate this exposure in the future. Although Talkpool has managed to significantly reduce the expenses for IR, M&A and other extraordinary costs compared to 2016, those costs were still relatively high during Q1. The cost reduction work will continue, but a certain permanent SG&A cost level increase compared to pre-IPO will have to be taken into account in order to grow according to plan with M&A and IoT and to manage IR. Hence, from now on those costs will not be separately declared as extraordinary cost. EBITDA amounted to EUR -130 thousand (84), equivalent to an EBITDA margin of -3.7 percent. EBIT for Q1 was EUR -147 thousand with an EBIT margin of -4.3 percent. EBIT. For Q1 2017 the net loss amounted to EUR -188 thousand, mainly caused by higher costs in relation to M&A activities and year-end impairment of deferred tax assets.
Q2 started positively and during the quarter a lot of focus will be on development of the new good opportunities in the BeNeLux, Germany and Mexico as well as in M&A. In IoT the delivery of ordered sensors and the related smart buildings solutions opportunities will be pursued.
Erik Strömstedt, CEO
This information is information that Talkpool is obliged to make public pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation and the Securities Markets Act. The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the contact person set out below, at 15:00 CET on 30 May 2017.
THIS IS TALKPOOL
Talkpool builds, maintains and improves telecommunication networks globally. Through its cutting-edge technical expertise, long experience and agile business model, Talkpool offers global telecom vendors and operators high-quality services on short notice no matter the location. Moreover, Talkpool is one of few companies with actual solutions and contracts in place in the exciting IoT-market.