Iress Limited (ASX.IRE) today announced a statutory net profit for the six months to 30 June 2016 of $32.7 million, up 22% over the prior half (six months to 31 December 2015) and up 15% over the previous corresponding period (six months to 30 June 2015).
Operating revenue increased to $194.3 million. On a constant currency basis, this is an increase of 8% on the prior half and 14% on the previous corresponding period. Segment Profit, a measure of IRESS’ core underlying performance, was $63.1 million. On a constant currency basis, this is an increase of 6% on the prior half and 11% over the previous corresponding period.
IRESS Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Walsh, said: “Our core businesses have performed well in the first half of 2016. We continue to experience strong levels of demand for IRESS solutions particularly in Australia, the United Kingdom and South Africa.”
The integrations of recently acquired businesses in the United Kingdom, Proquote and Pulse, are progressing well and both businesses contributed positively to the first half result. The ability to offer integrated products to new and existing customers is presenting revenue opportunities in the United Kingdom.
The reported results of South Africa and the United Kingdom were negatively impacted by foreign exchange movements during the half.
IRESS remains focused on providing leading technology solutions to its clients and the delivery of long-term, sustainable revenue and Segment Profit growth. Based on current expectations around timing of client projects, strong revenue growth and solid profit growth (in constant currency) is anticipated in 2016.
In respect of first half earnings, Directors determined to pay an interim dividend of 16.0 cents per share franked to 60% at a 30% corporate tax rate.
IRESS’ net debt balance at 30 June 2016 was $157 million, reflecting a leverage ratio of 1.3 times annualised Segment Profit, and a conservative balance sheet position.
Australia & New Zealand
Momentum in Australia and New Zealand continues with operating revenue and Segment Profit both increasing 2% over the prior half. Operating revenue and Segment Profit increased 6% and 7% respectively over the previous corresponding period.
The resilience of the financial markets business in Australia & New Zealand is pleasing. Revenue grew 1% and Segment Profit grew 3% over the prior half.
Compared to the prior half, wealth management revenue increased 5% while Segment Profit was up 1%. Compared to the previous corresponding period, wealth management revenue increased 12% and Segment Profit increased 14%. Half on half revenue growth was driven by broad client activity including significant projects, some of which are scheduled to launch in the second half of 2016. Based on current project pipeline and timing, IRESS expects continued strong results for wealth management in 2016.
In local currency, operating revenue and Segment Profit in the United Kingdom (excluding Lending) increased 21% and 12% respectively when compared to the prior half. Compared to the previous corresponding period, operating revenue and Segment Profit were up 44% and 73% respectively. This result was positively impacted by the contribution of Proquote and Pulse which were acquired in October 2015.
Revenue continues to reflect strong market demand for XPLAN in the United Kingdom. Revenue from the Exchange portal is highly recurring but exhibits a lower growth profile and has seen some provider consolidation in the half, offsetting Intermediary software grow
IRESS remains very focused on the significant projects underway in the United Kingdom. Project timing will continue to impact cost and revenue visible in half on half reporting. Based on current levels of client demand and expected project timing, a strong second half is expected in 2016.
The integration of Proquote and Pulse Software Systems is progressing well and both made a positive contribution to the performance in the half. Integrated product offerings continue to generate revenue opportunities with existing and new clients.
UK Enterprise Lending
In local currency, Enterprise Lending revenue growth was up 8% and Segment Profit was up 63% on the prior half. IRESS is confident in the strategy and long-term outlook for the Enterprise Lending business and the progress it is making with product and strategic relevance. As previously advised, uneven results in this business are anticipated and 2016 will bear a direct financial impact as IRESS transitions to recurring revenue with predictable margin.
In local currency, strong operating revenue and Segment Profit growth continues with 9% and 11% growth respectively compared to the prior half. Compared to the prior corresponding period revenue and Segment Profit growth was 19% and 21% respectively.
South Africa remains a strong performer and contributor to the group with continuing demand across IRESS’ product suite in financial markets and wealth management. Integrated solutions and strong local support remain key to relevance and a differentiated position locally.
In local currency, operating revenue was down 9% on the prior half and 8% on the previous corresponding period, which reflects trends in the broader financial markets in Canada, particularly in institutional equities trading.
Despite these challenges, IRESS maintains its confidence in the medium-to-long term prospects for this business as IRESS’ investment in diversifying the revenue base into retail wealth continues.
Interest in IRESS’ wealth offering in Canada is pleasing, with a number of client wins now confirmed. The foundation wealth project in Canada, MD Financial, continues to make good progress although project timing for ‘go live’ date has shifted back associated revenue.
Operating revenue in Asia was down 3% on the prior half, but up 13% on the previous corresponding period. Segment loss increased 5% and 2% compared to the prior half and previous corresponding period respectively. The implementation of foundation client Maybank Kim Eng remains a key focus, while sales activity continues to develop the pipeline of client opportunities.
IRESS remains confident of strong revenue growth and solid profit growth in 2016 (in constant currency) underpinned by momentum in wealth management, resilient financial markets performance and the full year impact of acquisitions.
While period on period revenue growth remains subject to the timing of client implementations, IRESS is confident in its strategy and continues to make investment decisions accordingly.
IRESS’ clients in the United Kingdom are largely domestically focussed and do not operate across European borders. However they are not immune from the indirect impacts of the United Kingdom’s decision to exit the European Union on business confidence and the economy generally. While these events have and will continue to drive uncertainty for the United Kingdom economy and its inter-connected economies in Europe, IRESS’ operational priorities, identified growth drivers, and strategic view of the United Kingdom remain unchanged. However, the immediate impact on exchange rates will negatively impact IRESS’ reported results in Australian dollars.
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