Melbourne IT doubles first-half profits

Domain registrar and hosting provider, Melbourne IT, has more than doubled its net profit in the first half of 2007 to $6.5 million off revenues of $77.3 million.

The result was 84 per cent higher year-on-year. Melbourne IT also filed earnings before interest and tax of $9.1 million, a 167 per cent increase compared to the first half of 2006.

CEO and managing director, Theo Hnarakis, said its purchase of Web-Central in September 2006 made a significant contribution to the bottom line. He highlighted its business and consumer division, which included WebCentral's shared hosting and software-as-a-service businesses, as a strong performer, achieving margins of $5.3 million off $20.3 million revenue.

"For a couple of years, we've been talking about our SME facing division and the fact that we have been working through a range of methodologies and systems improvements," he said. "This has allowed us to offer various services to SMEs, such as software-as-a-service and hosting, and it's succeeding."

The company's corporate and government division added $11.2 million in revenue for the first half and margins of $1.1 million. New and re-signed customer contracts included Michel's Patisserie, Kimberly-Clark and EB Games.

Hnarakis said its reseller division was also performing well, adding $30.8 million in revenue. A key focus over the past six months had been consolidating WebCentral's reseller business into Melbourne IT.

Nevertheless, there was still work to do improving WebCentral's billing systems as well as its service delivery and systems management, Hnarakis said. "These have caused some short-term pain but by the end of the year we expect this will settle down and resellers will see widespread improvement in our service delivery as well as range of new product launched," he said.