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Vista shares jump 8.5% as it promises a 6th year of 20%+ revenue growth

Tuesday 26th February 2019

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Vista Group is expecting to chalk up a sixth successive year of 20 percent-plus revenue growth in calendar 2019, excluding its operations in China.

The pipeline of contracted and other expected sales “is considerably full at this time and we’re not looking to blue sky to achieve our guidance,” chief financial officer Rodney Hyde told analysts in a presentation of Vista’s annual results.

The cinema technology company has just reported 22.6 percent sales growth to $130.7 million for calendar 2018 and a 26.7 percent jump in annual net profit to $12.3 million.

About 61 percent of that revenue is annually recurring, up from 60 percent the previous year.

After the results, Vista shares shot up as much as 34 cents, or 8.5 percent, to as high at $4.34, just shy of the record $4.35 reached in July last year.

“It’s a good little business that’s delivering on what they said they would do. It’s obviously got very strong, consistent revenue growth,” helped by the high level of recurring revenue, says Craig Stent, executive director at Harbour Asset Management.

Harbour owned 9 percent of Vista when its last substantial shareholder notice was filed in May last year.

The high market share of Vista's main business, Vista Entertainment Solutions, of 40 percent and of 48 percent excluding China demonstrates the market’s belief in its products and that it’s delivering what customers want, Stent says.

VES lifted sales 22 percent to $82.4 million and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) by 29 percent to $25.6 million.

But the real growth option is the Movio business, which delivers data-driven marketing and analytics solutions to the film industry and which lifted revenue 47 percent to $22.8 million and earnings 74 percent to $6.2 million.

Until now, the Movio business has produced disappointing results but it finally appears to be firing.

“That’s what the market’s been waiting for really and the next leg of growth for this company,” Stent says.

“It’s certainly hitting some runs and signing up some contracts in the last six months. That business could be as big as the core Vista business over time,” he says.

Movio signed up two of the leading Brazilian cinema exhibitors and Disney signed up to its Movio Media service.

Craigs Investment Partners analyst Stephen Ridgewell says Vista “is continuing to deliver the rare trifecta of strong revenue growth, operating leverage and strong and improving cash generation as it continues to cement its dominance of the global cinema software market.”

Operating cash flow in the year rose to $27.6 million from $11 million in 2017.

While the VES business produced “a stellar result,” Ridgewell also highlighted the Movio contribution.

“While we had allowed for Movio to deliver revenue growth and operating leverage in the second half, clearly we have not allowed enough and expect to upgrade our numbers for full-year 2020,” he says.

Vista clearly isn’t too worried about intellectual property protection or theft in China because it has just increased its stake in its China-based associate and is planning to take it over 50 percent in the near future.

“It’s fair to say a software company is potentially always thinking about this,” chief executive Kimbal Riley said, referring to IP protection or theft.

“We always feel that our best protection is to innovate faster than anybody else can,” Riley said.

Vista increased its stake in Vista China to 47.5 percent from 39.6 percent last August and is considering a number of options to allow it to consolidate that business.

“China is the second largest cinema market so it’s somewhere we have to be.”


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