UK life and pensions software firm Marlborough Stirling says decisive cost-cutting helped keep underlying profitability for 2003 on a par with 2002 despite lower turnover.
Revenues for the year were down five per cent to £114.6 million from £121 million a year earlier. Profit before tax came in at £2.5 million, compared to a loss of £34.5 million in 2002.
Outsourcing revenue in 2003 grew by 10% to £52 million or 45% of total revenue. Marlborough Stirling's flagship contract with Sun Life of Canada is the principal driver of growth in this area.
Revenues from Marlborough Stirling's Exweb portal service for intermediaries also grew by three per cent year-on-year to £16.2 million.
The business received a further boost today with the news that Royal Liver has signed a ten-year £25 million contract with the vendor to spearhead its entry into the IFA and intermediary market.
Looking ahead, Marlborough Stirling is reporting 2004 turnover visibility of £75 million, with a further £5 million pending.
While declining contributions from existing contracts are expected to push turnover for 2004 down to 2003 levels, the underlying performance is expected to be more buouyant, paving the way for a return to growth in 2005.
By mid-afternoon, Marlborough Stirling shares were up 6.6% to 56.5 pence.