FfastFill prelims show positive signs

Source: FfastFill

The Board of FFastFill plc (LSE: FFA), the leading provider of Software as a Service ("SaaS") to the global derivatives community, is pleased to announce Preliminary Results for the twelve months ended 31 March 2011.

The results demonstrate a significant improvement in Group profitability, driven by further growth in SaaS revenue and new Back Office implementation projects, supported by an enhanced product portfolio and broadened geographical reach.

Financial Highlights

· Group revenue up 9% at £15.5m (FY09/10: £14.3m)

o SaaS revenue up 15% to £12.1m (FY09/10: £10.5m)

o SaaS now represents 78% of Group revenue (FY09/10: 74%)

· Adjusted EBITDA* increased by 37% to £4.3m (FY09/10: £3.1m)

· Significantly improved adjusted operating profit*, up 83% at £2.2m (FY09/10: £1.2m)

· 12 month SaaS order book stands at £11.4m (FY09/10: £10.7m)

· The Group is debt free with a strengthened net cash position of £3.3m (FY09/10: £2.4m)

*Before share based payment charges of £0.1m (FY09/10: £0.02m)

Operational Highlights

· 13 contract wins across Front, Middle and Back Office suites

· Asia infrastructure fully embedded, tested and contributing to new business success

· Ongoing investment made in product functionality, capability and connectivity

· SAS70 audit complete, setting a benchmark for quality in our industry

· Launch of Horizon multi-broker capability

· Strengthening of leadership team with appointment of Mark Carlisle as Chief Financial Officer

Commenting on the results FFastFill Executive Chairman, Keith Todd, commented:

"I am pleased with the steady progress we have made this year, both operationally and financially. We have strengthened our product set, broadened our geographic reach and succeeded in securing new client mandates, particularly in the Back Office. All of this has translated into improved profit performance for the year and an increase in our net cash position. In light of the competitive strengths of our offering and the health of our order book, the board expects FFastFill to make further financial improvements in the year ahead."

Chairman's Statement

I am pleased to announce a successful Statement Statement

I am pleased to announce a successful outturn to this financial year. During the past twelve months we have made important, steady progress against each of our key objectives for the year. First, our product suite has been strengthened with new functionality and capacity added. Second, our evolution into a truly global business has continued, most notably in Asia supported by our now established and proven infrastructure in this key region. Third, we have succeeded in broadening our customer base, particularly in the Back Office with a number of new key client implementations progressing during the year. As a consequence our profitability this year has increased significantly, proving both the attractiveness of our SaaS based model to our customers and the inherent leverage this model gives us operationally.

We continued to see some structural changes take place in our industry this year. However, following the turbulence and uncertainty seen in our markets in recent years, I am pleased to say that we are now operating in an increasingly stable market environment. The large-scale change seen during the height of the financial crisis has largely abated, with decision-makers now in place with agreed budgets for investment.

In Asia, we have now reached an important landmark as a business. Today marks three years since our successful acquisition of Exchange Technology Pty Ltd: the platform which initially took us into the exciting Asian marketplace. During those three years we have invested time, effort and resource in developing a robust, scalable platform to support our operations and open us up to new client opportunities. Today, I am pleased to say that we are winning in Asia, successfully cross-selling our services in to this market and starting to generate a demonstrable return on the investments we have made. We are seeing increasing interest from both new and existing clients in connectivity with Asian markets including China and, in particular, connectivity which increases their access to commodities trading in this important region.

Our new business progress this year has not been limited to Asia. Across our entire Front Office, Middle Office and Back Office portfolios we have won important new business during the past twelve months. Furthermore, in many cases we are displacing some of those peers and taking market share.

In January 2011, we announced that Mark Carlisle would be joining FFastFill and our Board as Chief Financial Officer. Mark started on the 3rd May 2011 and our Board colleagues and I look forward to working with Mark as we continue to push ahead with our strategy.

That strategy remains clear: to build on our SaaS credentials across our Front, Middle and Back office offerings, make the most of the early successes we have seen in Asia and look to make further advances in this key market in the near term. We also plan to take advantage of further opportunities open to us in the North American market and exploiting this is a medium term priority. Whilst the regulatory framework is taking some time to evolve, the well-documented regulatory ambition to shift volumes in this market from Over-the-Counter ("OTC") to centrally cleared trading remains on the horizon.

We start the year with a strong SaaS order book of £11.4m and a good pipeline of business, but sales cycles remain difficult to predict despite increasingly stable market conditions. Looking ahead, we continue to believe in the competitive strength of our offering and in the fundamental strengths of SaaS as a delivery model. In light of these strengths and the health of our order book we expect to deliver further financial improvements in the year ahead.

Keith Todd CBE

Executive Chairman


Chief Executive's Review


Introduction

I am very pleased to report a creditable set of results for the FFastFill Group for FY10/11: a year in which we have not only continued to invest in our business, but also begun to see the benefits of prior investments - particularly in Asia - come through in the form of improved business performance and increased profitability.

During the year, we have successfully increased our adjusted operating profit from £1.2m in FY09/10 to £2.2m in FY10/11. This result is a satisfying achievement, particularly given the well-documented significant structural changes that have taken place within our customer base following the aftermath of the recent financial crisis.

This profitable progress owes much to the success we continue to make as a business in the implementation of our SaaS-led strategy as well as recent back office wins. Our product offering today is strong, resulting from the developments and improvements we have made this year - both in terms of additional connectivity and functionality - across our Front, Middle and Back Office offering. These excellent products have enabled us to make good operational headway during the year, winning us new business in both our traditional markets and in those markets and arenas where we are focused for the future.

Contract wins

FFastFill has continued to win new business during the year across each of the three areas of our product suite, most importantly in our SaaS-led business. From the strong base of wins secured in the first half of the financial year, we have continued to display good momentum through the second half, albeit at a slower pace than we saw in that stronger first half.

In the Front Office, Trade Execution Services ("TES") business contracts were won with Bank of Nova Scotia, Societe Generale, Bell Potter and Mitsui Bussan as well as BoC International. These wins demonstrate not only our Front Office progress this year, but each also points to progress in key geographies and across a range of new trading locations. In Asia, we have delivered enhanced connectivity to our Front Office product set and secured an important customer win with BoC International.

In the Middle Office in the first half of the year, we successfully extended our contract with ABN Amro by winning a mandate to support that business on a global basis. We are now serving ABN Amro with additional functionality and in new geographies, particularly in Asia, underlining the benefits and ease of our SaaS-based approach. This extension to our relationship also further highlights FFastFill's ability to up-sell within existing clients and, importantly, our ability to serve a global institution.

New business progress has also been made this year in the Post Trade Processing ("PTP") or Back Office business. Wins here were secured in the first half, for example with Schroders, and including most notably in Asia and Germany. Our ability to extend our position within existing clients was also proven in this segment, with cross-selling achieved within both ProSpreads and First Prudential Markets and we believe our prospects for making further new customer progress in Asia this year are good.

Broadening the Product Offer

During the year, the Group has made good progress in further enhancing, strengthening and broadening its product portfolio. These improvements have been achieved in all areas where we operate, supporting both our core capabilities as well as opening up potential new areas for the future:

Front Office (Trade Execution Services)

One of the most important developments this year in the Front Office came in the shape of FFastFill's new "Horizon" service, launched in March 2011. Horizon, which allows trading companies and sell-side brokers to access more than sixty international trading venues without the need for direct membership, has been well received. Horizon removes the requirement for expensive third party connectivity and time consuming broker-to-broker integration projects. Instead, through the FFastFill global SaaS platform, companies are now able to connect to multiple trading venues via their own or via other brokers' market access.

Post period end we were pleased to announce that FFastFill has entered into a partnership with IPC Systems, Inc. to help broaden the availability of Horizon. The partnership will make our services, including Horizon, more easily available to IPC Systems' global community of trading firms.

Middle Office

During the year we have continued to build upon the already strong competitive positioning of our SEALS offering with a range of important functional enhancements. In particular, we have paid careful attention to further increasing both the scalability of SEALS as well as enhancing the global access capabilities of the product.

Back Office (Post Trade Processing)

We have continued to push forward with our geographic ambitions in the Back Office with wins during the year in Germany and Asia: both important markets for us in the future. The implementation of these projects contributed to the increase in Back Office revenues in the year and improved profitability. At the same time, we have been able to improve the functionality of our Back Office offering, particularly in the enhancements we have made during the year in terms of increased margin coverage.

Operational Priorities

In line with the plan set out late last year, we have made further progress in our efforts to move towards a pure SaaS-led offering. As a result, the Group's third party licence revenues have further reduced, helping to simplify our portfolio and - importantly - enhance our margin.

Product capability is one key arm of our strategy. Geographic reach is also an important element of our growth effort. With that in mind, we were pleased that our new data centre in Sydney went live this year. The centre not only forms a new and important part of our global trading environment, but also helped us win our first customer in Australia being Bell Potter.

The third arm is quality. As announced earlier this month, FFastFill has completed a SAS70 audit across all of its globally delivered FFastFill services. This audit - an internationally recognised standard of operational process and control - has proven successful and FFastFill is now one of the first organisations in its peer group to achieve such a standard, setting the benchmark for others in our industry to follow. FFastFill services now carry an important external marker of service quality which, we believe, is an important differentiator and a mark of confidence for customers and regulators globally.

Strategy

Our strategy rests on continuing to develop, drive and sell our SaaS-based product set into both new and existing clients, as well as into new and emerging geographies. Our priority as a business remains the wider derivatives space, targeting the opportunities that exist now in exchange traded asset classes as well as the opportunities that the shift away from OTC trading will bring in future years. Asia continues to hold promise for us in the short term with, we believe, a medium term opportunity to follow in North America.

Our Staff

I would like to take the opportunity to thank all FFastFill staff across our global operation for their efforts and commitment during the year. Our achievements as a Group are their achievements as individuals, and we could not have delivered today's strong profitable result without their hard work and dedication.

Summary

We are pleased and proud of the progress we have made in the last twelve months. We are today a more global business and a more profitable business, offering a broader range of products and services that set a clear benchmark in terms of their capability and their dependability. I look forward to delivering further operational and financial progress in the coming twelve months.

Hamish Purdey

Chief Executive Officer


Financial Review

Revenue

Revenue for the year increased by 9% to £15.5m (FY09/10: £14.3m) as a result of growth in global SaaS revenue from our Front and Middle Office products and recent Back Office implementation projects in both Europe and Asia.

SaaS revenue increased by 15% to £12.1m (FY09/10: £10.5m) and now represents 78% of revenue (FY09/10: 74%).

Following further reductions in revenue generated through third party licence sales, gross profit margin has increased to 88% (FY09/10: 83%).

The 12 month order book stands at £13.8m (FY09/10: £13.5m). Of this £11.4m is SaaS, which grew by 7% in the year (FY09/10: £10.7m).

Operating Profit

Adjusted operating profit* increased by £1.0m (83%) to £2.2m reflecting the growth in revenue in the year. Following our successful expansion into Asia in FY09/10, operating expenses increased by 10% to £9.6m (FY09/10: £8.7m). Amortisation and depreciation increased to £2.1m (FY09/10: £1.9m) of which £1.4m (FY09/10: £1.4m) comprised amortisation of capitalised software development costs.

Profit Before Tax

Profit before tax increased to £1.8m (FY09/10: £1.2m). Exceptional items of £0.3m (FY09/10: £0.03m) comprise the cost of restructuring the management team and bad debt charges arising from customer bankruptcies.

Profit After Tax

Profit after tax increased to £1.8m (FY09/10: £1.1m). The Group continues to recognise a deferred tax asset of £1.5m (FY09/10: £1.4m) in respect of tax losses incurred in previous years.

Cash Flow

Cash flow from operations was strong at £3.0m (FY09/10: £3.3m) despite an outflow of £0.8m (FY09/10: inflow of £0.4m) in respect of increased working capital.

The Group has continued to invest in its infrastructure and product set to support revenue growth and incurred £0.8m of capital expenditure (FY09/10: £0.5m) and £1.9m (FY09/10: £1.8m) of capitalised investment in product development.

The net cash inflow for the year was £0.7m (FY09/10: £0.4m). The Group is debt free and the net cash position at 31 March 2011 improved to £3.3m (31 March 2010: £2.4m).

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