UXC dropped $50m on acquisitions in six months

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UXC dropped $50m on acquisitions in six months
UXC boss Cris Nicolli

UXC achieved record revenues of $292 million in the first half of the 2013 fiscal year, and expects three newly acquired companies to add $81 million to its top line on an annualised basis.

The publicly listed integration giant acquired  North American Microsoft Dynamics specialist Tectura for $21 million, ServiceNow reseller Keystone for $27 million, and it also paid $2 million for Melbourne-based White Labelled.

The deals collectively added 295 staff to UXC's headcount.

Tectura is seen as a vehicle for building UXC's global Microsoft practice, Keystone is tightly aligned to the company's strategy in emerging technologies, especially cloud computing, while White Labelled, while only comparatively small, delivers a new growth opportunity and aligns with the its plans to be a leading e-commerce business.

In its half-year results, UXC's bottom line wasn't so rosy. Underlying EBIDTA fell 17 percent to $12 million, while net profit after tax was cut by more than half – a result the company described as disappointing.

Of its three main revenue sources, consulting was hardest hit, dropping 7 percent. Infrastructure was the biggest contributor to growth, increasing UXC's revenues by 20 percent to $111 million. The biggest money-spinner was applications, which contributes close to half of the company's revenue; this division held steady at 1 percent growth.

Annuity and product licences both recorded strong growth at 15 and 38 percent, respectively, while its services revenues fell five percent.

In a statement to the ASX, the company said: "Challenges faced in the completion phase of a small number of large projects resulted in unanticipated costs during the reporting period. Remedial measures have been taken and further risk controls installed."

Despite the acquisitions, company management said it maintained a conservatively leveraged balance sheet although a note in the report suggested its gearing ratio of 25 percent was at the upper end of its comfort level. A spokesman for the company told CRN UXC would consider further acquisitions this year but that it would be unlikley to use debt to fund them . "If we saw a opportunity we liked the options would be to go to the market to raise money or to use paper."

UXC expects the next six months to be better. "The second half will continue to be much stronger than the first and contribute disproportionately to the result for the year, particularly with respect to a full period of contribution from the three core acquisitions completed in the first half," said the statement.

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