Nick Bolton, CEO, discusses our response to COVID-19
DECEMBER 2020 UPDATE
2019/20 was a challenging year, but despite the COVID-19 pandemic both divisions made progress that will benefit both towards our short-term goals and broader strategic aims.
- Oxford Metrics is a resilient business well placed to adapt to changes to the economy arising from the pandemic. Over the past year the Group has clearly demonstrated its strength and agility in the face of unanticipated challenges, moving quickly to adapt to the new environment to continue to serve our customers.
- Short-term sales have been held back but the main growth drivers in our two divisions are accelerating. Although the pandemic did cause a delay in closing sales over the second half of the financial year, we have seen signs of an acceleration of market trends which should benefit us in the future.
- Our strong financial platform affords us the opportunity to bring forward growth plans. Through these unprecedented times we have continued to be profitable and generate cash. Our strong fundamentals and robust financial position provide us with a solid platform to weather challenges presented in the on-going economic environment, fast track organic growth opportunities and expedite acquisition opportunities.
We are extremely proud of how the business has navigated a challenging year, to deliver continued strategic progress, showing itself to be a resilient and agile organisation. I would like to thank all stakeholders in our business for their exceptional contributions over the past year – our outstanding global team and their families who adapted so well to the new operational environment, and our shareholders, partners and customers who continued to support us in these most challenging of times.
Both businesses have started the new financial year well, however the COVID-19 pandemic is on-going, so uncertainty remains which continues to affect certain end-markets.
We enter FY21 a resilient group with two fundamentally strong and profitable businesses, both of which are seeing an acceleration in favourable market dynamics. This platform together with our robust Balance Sheet mean we feel confident in our ability to adapt, innovate and navigate any further challenges that may arise whilst driving organic and inorganic growth.
MAY 2020 UPDATE
The Group had a strong start to 2019/20, recording our second highest ever first half revenue performance.
When COVID-19 struck, we rapidly introduced measures to protect and ensure the safety of our people. As a global business, we have the infrastructure in place for our teams to stay closely connected and operate seamlessly from wherever they are. Almost all staff have been working remotely since lockdown commenced and no one has been furloughed. The team has adapted brilliantly to this new working environment and I thank them for their flexibility and dedication.
March is always a particularly busy month and for the last two weeks of the month we were unable to complete the shipment of customer systems within our Vicon business, because of the lockdowns in place in the UK and US. This led to us carrying over £1.1m orders into the second half, which have now been largely shipped to customers and will be recognised in the second half.
Following a closure of four weeks, a small number of Vicon production staff have now returned to company offices to ensure systems can be manufactured and delivered to customers. This required adapting working practices to protect employees, including moving to a two-shift work pattern, introducing a one-way system around the building and increasing the spacing between workstations. This team deserves a special thanks as their commitment and ingenuity has enabled us to continue to make and ship systems to our customers around the world.
Across the business, our teams have been working hard to ensure customers have what they need to continue to access our solutions and services. This has included, where our customers are running essential public or health services, extending additional software licenses free of charge to support their expanded work teams.
Looking to the future, although none of us can be certain of the challenges the aftermath of this pandemic will bring, the business stands resilient and ready. We have an improved level of revenue visibility and a strong balance sheet with £14.2m in cash as at 20 May 2020 and the Group remains debt-free. We are diversified across multiple vertical markets with long-term positive growth drivers, and hold powerful competitive positions with multiple defensible barriers to entry. We offer products and services which are clearly differentiated from our competitors and most often distinguished by the strength of our technology. We operate in over 70 countries worldwide and have no significant exposure to those sectors most affected by lockdowns, such as the travel and hospitality industries.
The commitment of the whole team places the Group in a strong position to navigate the challenges likely to arise from the impact of COVID-19.
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