WebCentral profits fall as sales rise

WebCentral Group has seen its half-yearly profits drop by 22 per cent against a rise in its overall sales.

The group reported revenue increased by 4 per cent during the first half of the 2005/2006 financial year to $29.8 million, compared to $28.7 million at 31 December 2004. Profits however, dived to $1.3 million, down from $1.7 million recorded in the first half of the 2004/2005 financial year.

WebCentral CEO, Andrew Spicer, attributed the fall to a quieter six months across its FTR business.

Profits had soared in the previous period due to a massive contract win with the US Social Security Administration, he said. The latest results showed sales returning to a normal level.

"FTR will always be a lumpy part of the business because software is a one-off sale, unlike WebCentral, which brings in ongoing revenue," Spicer said. He denied the business might be spun-off.

"At this stage we're focused on improving FTR's performance," Spicer said. "We're expanding [its multimedia recording and content management] to police rooms and general hearing rooms and have just opened a UK office."

According to Spicer, the most exciting aspect of the results was the 73 per cent growth of its Software as a Service business from $1.1 to $1.9 million. "We would like to see consistent growth in that area," he said.

Spicer declined to speculate on the next six months growth.

Managed hosting revenue was also a solid performer for the group, up 31 per cent to $6.3 million for the half-year.