Business Collaborator, the Reading, Berkshire-based provider of construction collaboration technologies (and other applications including an ethical supplier database, SEDEX) has just reported its financial results for the year to 31 December 2008 at Companies House.
At the time of its 2007 figures (published very promptly in April 2008 – post), directors of the Unit 4 Agresso NV subsidiary were optimistic about being able to “deliver sustainable growth in line with its strategy”, but the global financial crisis and the associated construction downturn had then yet to appear on the horizon.
Nonetheless, turnover for 2008 was up 10.6% to £3.11m (from £2.81m in 2007), while the pre-tax profit was £221,367 (up from £162,557 in 2007). Average staff numbers increased from 30 to 34. Of the turnover, all but £20,460 (attributed to Europe) related to operations in the UK and Ireland.
However, the market downturn that hit during the latter part of this reporting period and which has continued during 2009 has prompted a pessimistic note on the future outlook from Business Collaborator’s directors:
“The decline in the general economic climate has affected customers of the Company, particularly those in the building industry. The directors recognise that the Company is unlikely to deliver sustainable growth in the coming year but believe that the business outlook has stabilised and by focusing on customer care they are confident that current levels of activity can be maintained.”
The directors’ cautious note perhaps reflects the halving of revenue growth from the rates seen in previous years: 19.6% in 2007, 22% in 2006, and suggests there may well be a decline in revenues for 2009. It sounds as though Business Collaborator – like Asite (post), Storedata (post) and Sword CTSpace (post) – has yet to report the full impact of the UK construction recession (it also makes 4Projects‘ March 2009 figures, the latest we have for a UK-based vendor, something of a trend-bucker – post).
Moreover, Business Collaborator does not have the ‘safety net’ of an Aconex-style wide network of international, and to some extent transferable, operations to avoid the risk of exposure to a single market (see yesterday’s post) – its fortunes are very much tied to the buoyancy of the UK building industry.
None of the leading vendors that I monitor is obliged to publish results anytime soon (Business Collaborator’s 2008 report was signed off very close to the 10-month deadline), but as they emerge during 2010, I suspect we will see a few downward ticks for 2009 in the revenue and profitability graphs.