Vista shares climb on 57% gain in operating profit as sales grow faster than costs
By Nikki Mandow
Feb. 28 (BusinessDesk) - Vista Group, the cinema software and applications company, posted a 57 percent jump in full-year operating profit as more cinemas bought its products and sales growth ran ahead of costs. Vista shares, which sank to a two-year low last week, jumped 9.8 percent to $2.80.
Operating profit rose 57 percent to $20.4 million, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. Revenue rose 20 percent to $106.6 million, marking the fourth straight year that sales have jumped by at least a fifth while expenses rose about 14 percent to $86 million. Net profit fell to $9.98 million from $49.5 million in 2016, when it took a $41 million one-time gain from the sale of Vista China.
Vista, with six offices around the world, is one of the biggest suppliers of cinema management, film distribution and customer analytics software products. Subsidiary companies provide software and applications to various film industry segments. Vista Cinema, the largest member of the group, added almost 800 new cinemas in 2017, to the more than 5,550 already taking its software products. It also brought 11 new countries on board, including Brazil, Italy and Austria, taking total countries to 93.
“These [new] countries, together with China, Japan and Saudi Arabia, represent some of the largest markets for Vista in FY18 and beyond,” the company said. “This together with the increase in average customer spend provides confidence in the ongoing growth aspirations of Vista Cinema in the future.”
Vista said it expects to deliver the first modules of its new cloud version of Vista Cinema in the first quarter this year.
The company increased its 2017 dividends by 28 percent, with the final dividend set at 1.74 cents per share, saying that given the positive financial result, the board set the payment "at the top of the policy range (50 percent)”. The record date is March 12, for payment on March 23.
.Meanwhile, Vista co-founder and chief executive Murray Holdaway will hand over the leader’s mantle at the beginning of April to Kimbal Riley, in what the company says is a succession planning process.
Holdaway, who founded the company in 1996, will instead take on the chief product officer role and will remain an executive director on the Vista Group board.