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Vista expects to maintain sales growth as profit climbs 36%

Wednesday 29th August 2018

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Vista Group International expects to maintain sales momentum through the rest of the year as the acquisition of a Latin American cinema analytics reseller helped boost first-half profit 36 percent. 

The Auckland-based cinema software developer lifted first-half revenue 20 percent to $60.1 million and said it expects to maintain that pace of expansion through the rest of calendar 2018. If it does achieve 20 percent (or more) revenue growth for a fifth straight year, this would see annual sales reaching $127.9 million. That's more than four times Vista's revenue in 2013, before it went public. 

Net profit attributable to shareholders climbed to $5.2 million in the six months ended June 30, from $3.8 million a year earlier, it said in a statement. Earnings from its dominant cinema unit were boosted by last year's acquisition of a controlling stake in Mexico's Senda Direccion Tecnologica, now called Vista Latin America. The bottom line was also helped by an $800,000 foreign exchange gain as the exporter benefited from a weaker New Zealand dollar. 

"A very pleasing first half performance provides confidence we can deliver to our guidance for the full year," the company said. "Revenue expansion is also very much on the agenda for cinema, both through developing ancillary revenue streams with third parties, and through the development of new innovative product offerings."

Vista is one of the world's biggest suppliers of cinema management, film distribution and customer analytics software products. Since its 2014 initial public offering, the company has expanded into new territories, including Japan and France, and made a series of bolt-on acquisitions to deepen its offering. 

The company started paying dividends last year after putting them on ice for two years when it raised funds and went public. The board today declared a fully imputed interim dividend of 1.6 cents per share, or $2.6 million, to be paid on Sept. 27 with a Sept. 13 record date. 

Earlier this year Vista bought back 7.9 percent of its Chinese entity for $7.7 million, putting the Kiwi company on an equal footing with Tencent-backed Beijing Weying Technology Co (WePiao). First NZ Capital analysts said today's result was "likely to be complicated by part-period consolidation of China" and they would be looking at level of China receivables, which were at $13 million in February. 

The Chinese unit lifted revenue 36 percent $8.7 million from a year earlier and Vista Cinema has 13 percent of the total market. The related party receivable shrank to $6.9 million, including $5.5 million owing from before the transaction. 

Vista shares last traded at $4.02, having jumped 40 percent so far this year. The shares were sold at $2.35 apiece in the 2013 IPO, although the company undertook a two-for-one share split last year to boost liquidity. At the time of the split, Vista's market value was $440 million and it's currently at $665 million. 


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