Sig­nalling a go

Finweek English Edition - - Companies & Markets - SIKONATHI MANTSHANTSHA

AF­TER RE­PORT­ING A head­line loss in its in­ter­ims to Au­gust 2008, tech­nol­ogy sig­nalling com­pany An­sys in on track for a pos­i­tive out­come in the full year to Fe­bru­ary. An­sys spe­cialises in the de­sign and in­te­gra­tion of mon­i­tor­ing and con­trol sys­tems for the rail trans­port and de­fence sec­tors. Its ma­jor client by far is Transnet Freight Rail.

An­sys gave the rea­son for the loss as de­lays in the ad­ju­di­ca­tion of some of its ma­jor tenders by up to 18 months. The R6,6m loss equates to a head­line loss/ share of 4,73c against a 6,26c/share profit pre­vi­ously.

The good news is that or­ders re­ceived for the year to Fe­bru­ary 2009 al­ready ex­ceed rev­enue for the full 2008 fi­nan­cial year at R150m (2008: R121m). The com­pany had orig­i­nally fore­cast a R138m rev­enue. Among those are con­tracts to ex­port An­sys’ lo­co­mo­tive tracking and op­ti­cal tech­nol­ogy to some of the min­ing and rail­way com­pa­nies in Turkey and China and, of course, to Transnet.

In ad­di­tion to those, An­sys is cur­rently in­volved in ne­go­ti­a­tions to buy 100% of AR Process Projects, a 30-year-old com­pany that will en­able An­sys to ex­pand into the en­ergy and chem­i­cal re­lated in­dus­trial sec­tors through its en­gi­neer­ing so­lu­tions. That will fur­ther re­duce the com­pany’s de­pen­dence on Transnet and Denel (via Op­to­con Sys­tems) by around 90% of its con­tracts.

Gaut­eng Premier (then fi­nance MEC) Paul Mashatile told Fin­week back in 2006 that the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment was plan­ning to in­vest in the up­grade of sig­nalling tech­nol­ogy for passenger train ser­vice Metro­rail, which hadn’t seen any ma­jor in­vest­ments in 30 years. Noth­ing ma­jor has since ma­te­ri­alised. Last week’s two train crashes in dif­fer­ent parts of Gaut­eng – in one day – were at­trib­uted to sig­nalling prob­lems. That surely sig­nals more ur­gent busi­ness for An­sys?

At its cur­rent price of 36c/share, An­sys is rather ex­pen­sive at 13,14 times its price:earn­ings. An­sys is on track to de­liver pos­i­tive earn­ings, in the re­gion of 15c/share.

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