SaaS collaboration vendor Asite is still profitable, still growing revenues but slowed slightly in 2015.
London, UK-based SaaS construction collaboration technology vendor Asite has published its annual report and accounts for the year ending 30 June 2015 (Asite news release). It increased its revenues by 12.2% to £5.289m (2014: £4.715m). Operating profit for the period increased by 19.2% to £0.757m (2014: £0.635m).
However, the revenue growth suggests a slight slow-down from 2014 when it reported 17% growth. And recent reports from competitors show Asite may be lagging behind in a buoyant market – Germany’s think project! reported revenues up 33% last week, while the global market leader Aconex announced revenues up 46%. In October 2015, Viewpoint for Projects reported 2014 revenues up 21% with 2015 revenue growth “above 20%” in the UK.
Asite remains heavily reliant upon the UK market which accounts for 78% of its 2015 revenues. North American revenues grew from £218k to £377k, but Australian revenues fell slightly again (from £536k to £519k). Asite said:
We continue to expand into new markets whilst expanding our product and service base in line with our growing number of clients and the requirements they bring. We have invested in the opening of two new offices namely in Africa and the Middle East to boost our global footprint and revenues.
(Before the Global Financial Crisis, the Middle East was once Asite’s second biggest market, accounting for 10% of its revenues reported in 2009.)
Asite staff numbers continue to grow. The previous annual report showed average monthly headcount up from 104 to 139 employees; this year’s report shows a further jump, up 30% to 181 – again largely accounted for by expansion of the India-based technical team. Asite said: “The Group continues to invest in research and development. … The directors regard investment in this area as a prerequisite for success in the medium to long term future.”
Added analysis (24 February – updated 26 February 2016)
An email from an Asite shareholder reminds me that two years ago, Asite CEO Tony Ryan talked very bullishly about future revenues. He told journalists and bloggers attending the Asite user conference in March 2014 that 2014 revenues would be around £5.5m; this proved optimistic – Asite delivered revenues in the year to 30 June 2014 of £4.7m (post). He also forecast revenues rising to £7.8m in 2015 and £13m in 2016. As we’ve seen this week, the 2015 figure proved to be £5.3m, and with revenue growth faltering, Asite will certainly not be doubling its revenues to get anywhere close to £13m in the current financial year. Nonetheless, Tony today (26 February) insisted to me that the business was still on track, still hitting its targets, and “nailing every quarter.”
Tony Ryan on Asite’s International prospects
Tony’s 2014 optimism was, I think, based on the post-recession bounce-back of construction in the UK and on the early positive results from Australia (but after a healthy £0.557m in 2013, revenues have fallen in both the next two years). As skills shortages have affected the UK market, he told me there had been a slowdown, particularly in recent months (eg: December 2015, January 2016); a similar slowdown in the natural resources market in Australia had impacted revenues, he said, but “we have a decent pipeline out there, particularly in civils and infrastructure, which we expect to grow”. With a new US client (New York DOT) recently secured, and a new New York office established, Tony was also confident about the north American market: “the US will be a big focus for us in the next two to three years,” he said.
… and on the UK market
The company’s heavy reliance upon the UK market, where competition among the SaaS vendors is particularly fierce, is also a factor. Rivals Conject (post) and Viewpoint (post) have both talked about price pressures leading to “serious price-cutting,” and bidding wars won by offering “significant … unsustainable reductions.” Downward pressure on vendor pricing will certainly impact on both revenues and margins, and Tony said, that with collaboration now commoditised, competitors were “giving stuff away“. He also insisted rivals were reliant on revenues gained through acquisition rather than organic growth, but added Asite were “talking to one or two interested parties” (ie: acquisitions to add to the Asite portfolio).
On BIM, he claimed Asite was “light years ahead of the likes of Viewpoint”, insisting other cloud collaboration vendors were trying to catch-up with Asite’s model server, which he said also delivers intelligent data to drive procurement.
Update (posted 14 March 2016) – A comment from Tony Ryan says: “Just a minor correction – the numbers I was quoting in 2014 were in $dollars and that is exactly what we achieved.”