A trum­pet worth blow­ing

Finweek English Edition - - Companies & markets - FROM THE AN­NUAL RE­PORT BELINDA AN­DER­SON

KNOW­ING THAT UCS SYS­TEMS serve more than 20m South African con­sumers a month and that its soft­ware is switched on in more than 15 000 stores through­out SA goes a long way to­wards mak­ing the com­pany real for or­di­nary in­vestors. Some might even peer over the cashier’s shoul­der next time they pay for some­thing to see signs of whether a UCS so­lu­tion is pro­cess­ing their trans­ac­tion. Its soft­ware is also be­ing sold in 22 coun­tries.

One thing that makes UCS spe­cial is that al­most 90% of its rev­enue is de­rived from its own in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty prod­ucts and ser­vices – a claim that few, if any, other JSE-listed IT com­pa­nies can make.

It’s also do­ing ex­cit­ing and in­no­va­tive things, such as de­vel­op­ing a world-class soft- ware fac­tory that should, says CEO John Bright, ben­e­fit from the trend world­wide to­wards out­sourced prod­uct de­vel­op­ment.

Though you might think UCS has only been grow­ing in line with the re­tail mar­ket, in­com­ing chair­man Dun­can Coles says that’s not the case: it should con­tinue to grow even in a ris­ing in­ter­est rate en­vi­ron­ment, as re­tail­ers turn to it to de­liver more cost-ef­fec­tive and endto-end busi­ness so­lu­tions. It’s also iden­ti­fied op­por­tu­ni­ties flow­ing from the new Na­tional Credit Act, says Coles. UCS is also look­ing to grow into mar­kets other than re­tail and says the ben­e­fits of its in­ter­na­tional ef­forts could start flow­ing through over the next 12 months.

One use­ful ad­di­tion to the an­nual re­port is a sum­mary of key ra­tios over a five-year pe­riod. Those range from shares in is­sue to head­line earn­ings per share, cash gen­er­ated, op­er­at­ing mar­gins and the num­ber of em­ploy­ees at each year-end. Those are num­bers that in­vestors would nor­mally only be able to ac­cess by read­ing pre­vi­ous an­nual re­ports.

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