A trumpet worth blowing
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.