Aconex growing revenues again

Aconex reports growing revenues and reduced losses for year to June 2012.

The annual report and accounts (for the year ending 30 June 2012) from Melbourne, Australia-based Software-as-a-Service construction collaboration technology vendor Aconex have been published – albeit with what I have begun to regard as the quadruple-A: the “Annual Aconex Accounts Adjustment.” The headline figures show the business grew its revenues 20% to Au$44.4m (c. £28.9m) from 2011’s (restated) Au$36.9m, while incurring a loss of Au$3.5m (c. £2.3m) compared to 2011’s (restated) $9.8m loss (post).


The latest Aconex accounting policy adjustment has pushed the company, again, towards a yet more conservative approach to revenue recognition. It is aligning its financial reporting practices with those of US-based SaaS companies, believing this will – in time – maximise the valuation of its business. Its 2012 financial statements were prepared under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) with several corporate accounting policies amended to suit US Generally Accepted Accounting Policies (GAAP).

Regional performance

The global financial crisis dented Aconex’s performance in previous years, so the 2012 result is encouraging, though heavily dependent upon revenues from Aconex’s domestic market in Australasia, which contributed 50% of total 2012 revenue and increased 32% from 2011.

Revenue from the Americas accounted for 12% of total revenue and grew 70% from the previous year (partly reflecting Aconex’s heavy investment in sales and marketing in north America, and recruitment of some financial and managerial heavy hitters).

Asia revenues grew 7%, contributing 11% of total revenues – Aconex CEO Leigh Jasper picked out China and Malaysia as strong markets when we had a results conference call recently.

However, the “continued fragility of economies” in Europe, the Middle East and Africa saw revenues decline 6%. Last year, Aconex had to write-off revenues from Libya due to the civil war; this year, though, “diversification into Qatar and Saudi Arabia drove 10% sales growth for the Middle East,” building partly on deals that had begun to materialise last year. Meanwhile, the UK and mainland Europe remains “tough,” Leigh said. EMEA now accounts for 26% of total revenues.

While most well-known as an AEC (architecture, engineering and construction) platform, Aconex has also been making inroads into the oil and gas and mining sectors, helping protect the company against the ebbs and flows of the AEC market. This has helped Aconex in Australasia, though Leigh did report a “slow-down in the last six months” in that region. Elsewhere, recent Americas performance had also been been affected by the US presidential elections, but, in the long-term, Leigh expected this region would eventually surpass the ANZ and Asia markets.

Overall, the Aconex order book at 30 June 2012 was up 13% to Au$64.5m (£42m).

Product development

Over the past year, Aconex has invested in various new product lines, and continued to support previous new ventures. Leigh highlighted the company’s development of tools to allow capture of and access to data in the field (something we’d previously discussed; post), while the adoption of building information modelling (BIM) continued to grow, particularly in the UK, US and Australasia, with volumes of BIM data doubling in the past year.

Aconex’s currently Australia-focused e-tendering business, BidContender (post) has continued to grow, and Leigh said they would be looking to expand it beyond Australasia in the next 12 months, with the US and Asia identified as potential markets.

Following the June 2012 acquisition of one-time partner business Grazer (post), Aconex was also looking at expanding its partner network and finding acquisition targets that fitted with its long-term product roadmap.

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2 pings

    • Mike on 3 December 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Paul, you have been closely following this industry for more than a decade. What do you think Aconex’s latest results say about the progress and direction of the AEC collaboration ‘extranet’ industry? Is the industry financially viable with so many different providers or will some more consolidation be required? If it has taken the most widely used service (as claimed by Aconex) this long to get to only about £30m pa in revenues, what does this say about the fundamental commercial viability not just of Aconex but all the other main AEC collaboration providers? So much capital has been invested for not great results so far counting the failures or disappointments of some AEC extranet providers along the way. If Aconex is the best of the bunch as a commercial success this far, what about the rest? How do you think the industry is going financially compared to expectations of some years ago? What do you think will be the commercial evolution of extranets from here?

    • anon1mouse on 28 December 2012 at 9:54 am

    If you click back through the links you have provided to Aconex’s results over the past years, it is clear they have struggled with lack of growth. They have barely increased revenues since the 2008 Financial Crisis, have not yet made a profit, and every year seem to require yet another downward accounting adjustment of their past results or “AAAA” as you describe it. This pattern of repeated poor financial outcomes over a number of years is surprising because Aconex has had a lot of investment poured into it and an aggressive “go global anywhere” sales strategy. The US VCs who invested in Aconex in 2008 and Aconex’s other investors must be spitting blood at the moment wondering if there it will ever grow revenues and profits enough to provide returns on dollars invested. An IPO must still be years away if ever based on these latest results.

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