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Vianet reports strong results and is “well positioned” to come through COVID-19 pandemic

Data monitoring firm Vianet has reported strong full year earnings, with revenues and profits rising by 3.8 and 4.5 per cent respectively in the 2019/20 financial year.

Total revenue was £16.28 million in the year ending March 31, with pre-exceptional profit of £4.03 million.

The listed company said it was “well positioned” to come through the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen many of its clients in the leisure and hospitality industry close their doors.

Vianet has revised its contract terms to support those who have been unable to trade during the lockdown and reported that the vast majority of pubs it works with signed up to the new pricing model.

While its core customer base of pubs and bars has been affected, Vianet said 70 per cent of its unattended retail machines remained active during the lockdown.

The company has taken advantage of both the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) to cover any financial losses incurred in the near term and has also taken the decision to suspend its final dividend to shareholders.

That being said the company is thought to be on a very strong financial footing and indeed broker Cenkos described Vianet as being “adequately financed” well into 2021.

Mark Foster, CFO at Vianet, explained: “We’ve been exceptionally prudent in our forecast about the impact on the pub industry and we’ve not baked into any of our numbers, pubs coming back until October.

“We’ve got a very robust cash runway through to June next year, including the CBILS loan we got from the bank.

“Assuming that the assumptions we’ve made hold true, we won’t touch any of our deposit money in that period.

“We believe we’ve done all the right things – we’ve protected every job in the business and that’s our intention for as long as we can. We’re in a good place.”

Vianet is a global provider of real-time data management and monitoring tools and uses IoT technology to deliver smart, contactless payment functionalities to vendors.

Its Smart Zones, which offer real-time operational monitoring, are installed in more than 12,000 pubs and bars globally, whereas its Smart Machines, which facilitate cashless payments and analytics for unattended assets, have 230,000 connection points.

The Stockon-based firm sees the future growth in its Smart Machines offering, where profits rose by 8.6 per cent in the last financial year.

Significant contract wins with major vending operators Compass, Montagu and Lavazza, will generate £10 million over the next three to five years.

Company CEO, Stewart Darling, said: “We’ve seen a massive uptick in contactless transactions and our view is that this has been due to how cash has been seen to be a transmitter of the virus.

“There has been a reluctance from some of the smaller operators to go down the contactless route and I think those walls have been well and truly knocked down now.”

Traditionally, Vianet has worked with pubs, using its data gathering software to improve quality management, business intelligence and pouring and till yield information.

Now it is looking to other vertically markets who are also interested in its services.

Stewart added: “There is definitely a wind behind us now, the number of enquiries we’ve had in the last couple of weeks is quite sensational.”