SALES IN LINE WITH EXPECTATIONS, 2009 SALES: € 144.5 MILLION
GOOD RESILIENCE OF SALES DURING THE FOURTH QUARTER
Linedata Services reports a 10% sales decline over its 2009 financial year. This decline was primarily due to a weak consulting activity which decreased by € 17.4 million (down 33%) compared to the previous year. This latter figure notably includes € 10 million relating to the adverse impact of the 2008 migration of the NOEE Employee Savings software.
In order to contain the negative effects generated by a difficult economic environment, Linedata Services drew on diversified product and customer bases, resilient sales from existing customers and the strength of its rental-based business model (monthly licences, ASP, etc.). Recurring revenue grew by 1.1% in 2009 to € 97.5 million and represented about 67% of total sales in 2009, compared to 60% in 2008.
Over the fourth quarter, the Group posted sales of € 38.3 million, unchanged on a reported basis and up 1.5% on a constant exchange rate basis.
Analysis of annual sales by geographic region
SOUTHERN EUROPE (Q1: € 19.7 million, down 13.5%; Q2: € 19.3 million, down 20.6%; Q3: € 15.8 million, down 17.3%; Q4: € 19.7 million, up 3.5%)
In this region, Linedata Services achieved fourth quarter sales of € 19.7 million, a 3.5% increase compared to 2008, due to the resilience of the Leasing & Credit Finance and Insurance divisions.
Over the full year, the region declined by 12.6%, primarily due to a 46.5% fall in sales by the Employee Savings division (down € 11.9 million). Conversely, progress with the development projects of the Insurance division’s new Master-i solution generated sales growth of 18.1% in this segment.
NORTHERN EUROPE (Q1: € 7.8 million, down 14.5%; Q2: € 8.1 million, down 18.8%; Q3: € 8.3 million, down 18.3%; Q4: € 7.0 million, down 24.8%)
In spite of sustained sales activity (40 contracts signed in 2009 in this region, out of a Group total of 102), this region was markedly affected by the fall in consulting revenues (down 45.6%) from its customers in all segments (both traditional and alternative funds).
Moreover, the unfavourable €/£ exchange rate magnified the decrease (down 19.1% at current exchange rates, compared to a 12.1% drop at constant exchange rates).
Fourth quarter sales were down 24.8% to € 7.0 million, in particular due to lower revenue from traditional funds.
NORTH AMERICA (Q1: € 8.6 million, up 4.3%; Q2: € 9.3 million, up 17.4%; Q3: € 6.6 million, down 18.6%; Q4: € 10.9 million, up 17.4%)
A dynamic sales effort, driven in particular by the success of the front and middle office products (LongView and Linedata Compliance) enabled the North America region to post satisfactory performance within a highly competitive environment (up 5.5% as reported). The portion of recurring revenue reached 86% in 2009, compared to 77% in the previous year.
Fourth quarter sales grew by 17.4%, more specifically due to an increase in consulting revenue.
ASIA (Q1: € 0.8 million, up 24.2%; Q2: € 1.0 million, down 29.5%; Q3: € 1.0 million, up 44.0%; Q4: € 0.6 million, down 5.6%)
In spite of the 5.6% decline in sales over the fourth quarter, the Asia region reported moderate growth of 0.4% over the year.
Linedata Services signed 26 new contracts in the region, of which 8 over the last quarter.
The Group confirms its target for a markedly improved operating margin for 2009. The cost cutting plan implemented throughout 2009 significantly limited the EBITDA erosion caused by the sales decline.
In addition, net debt at end December 2009 is expected to be more than € 5 million lower than in 2008, thus accelerating the Group’s debt reduction.
As regards 2010, Linedata Services has a sales order backlog of € 96 million, down 10% compared to last year’s. The strengthening of the selling organisation, already initiated in all geographic regions, should gradually add to this order book.
Shareholders’ agenda: Linedata Services will publish its annual results on 25 March 2010 after close of trading.