Pessimistic Unit4’s revenues down, but profits up

Unit4 Collaboration Software (until February 2010 known as Business Collaborator – post), the UK-based provider of construction collaboration technologies (and other applications) recently filed its annual report and accounts for the year to 31 December 2009 at Companies House.

This time last year (post), the company’s directors were not optimistic about their ability to deliver sustainable growth due to the general economic decline associated with the credit crunch. Their pessimism was justified in some respects: turnover, already slowing in 2008, declined 8.5% from £3.108m to £2.843m in 2009. However, pre-tax profits were up again, reaching £268,950, up from £221,367 in 2008, making 2009 the business’s fourth consecutive profitable year. Staff numbers were down slightly, from 34 to 32.

The company mainly operates in the UK and Ireland – which together account for 97% of its revenues (the remainder arises from operations in mainland Europe). Unit4 has not followed UK-based competitors such as 4Projects, BIW and Asite by opening operations in regions such as the Middle East or north America.


The report suggests that the UK and Irish construction market downturn has yet to bottom out sufficiently for Unit4’s directors to be more positive about prospects for 2010; their gloomy ‘Future outlook’ is word for word identical to that given for 2009. Afore-mentioned rivals at least have the option of expanding their operations in overseas markets, but Unit4 has yet to look beyond Europe, and its heavy reliance on the UK construction sector – itself deeply concerned about the impact of further public spending cuts in tomorrow’s Comprehensive Spending Review – justifies such caution.

I notice Unit4, iSite (formerly Styles & Wood’s StoreData) and Asite have all achieved very similar pre-tax profits, but from different revenue levels.

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  1. Please note that UNIT4 Collaboration Software is part of the UNIT4 Business Sodtware Group and as such will benefit from UNIT4’s global position.
    Please note that our business collaboration products now form part of our core platform and are being promoted outside of construction only related markets and indeed international markets where UNIT4 hyave a presence.

  1. […] dips experienced by other UK-based vendors (eg: BIW – post, Unit4 Collaboration – post, Asite – post), which reflect the pressures they have faced in their domestic market over the […]

  2. […] expressed by SaaS construction collaboration technology provider Unit4 Collaboration Software a year ago appears to have been only partly justified. While it has yet to return to the £3m-plus turnover it […]

  3. […] How ever, there are contradictory indicators elsewhere in the 2009 report where Sword Group segments its turnover and earnings by market sector (p.151). Here it says the energy, construction and utilities sector generated a turnover of €15.851m in 2009 (£14.123m), a whopping 40% down on the previous year’s €26.302m (£23.435m). EBIT for 2009 was €2.964m (£2.641m), 53% down from €6.324m (£5.635m) in 2008. Operating profitability was down, Sword explains, as: “entirely the result of the exceptional R&D plan initiated in 2009 that was completed at the end of Q1 2010. In 2010, we expect to see profitability improve.” No hint, then, that revenues were hit by the credit crunch – despite what other AEC businesses have found (most recently Unit4, for example – post). […]

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