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McDonald's invests $5.4 million in NZX-listed Plexure

By Jenny Ruth

April 2 (BusinessDesk) - Fast-food multi-national McDonald’s is spending $5.4 million on a 9.9 percent stake in NZX-listed technology minnow Plexure after being a customer off and on since at least 2012.

McDonald’s says this is its first-ever investment in a mobile app vendor and follows its recent announcement that it is buying Dynamic Yield, a decision-engine and personalisation company based in Israel and New York.

McDonald’s says its investment in Plexure will provide it with enhanced access to Plexure’s technology in the quick service restaurant space, including access to greater back-end and front-end features, customer functionality and customer targeting.

“Across all markets, we’re using technology to elevate and transform the McDonald’s customer experience,” says group president and chief executive Steve Easterbrook.

“Our mobile apps play a key role in our digital acceleration, allowing customers to interact with us on their terms in a personal, customised way,” Easterbrook says in a statement.

“This investment is a testament to our belief in Plexure’s ability to deliver strong results for our business as well as the talent and technology they’ve cultivated.”

Plexure designs and builds software allowing other businesses, mainly retailers and fast food outlets, to target customers via their mobile phones.

Plexure chief executive Craig Herbison says the funds from the placement of 13.8 million shares to McDonald’s will be used to expand his company.

The shares have been issued at 39.05 cents per share compared with Plexure’s closing price yesterday at 31 cents, when its market capitalisation was $38.9 million.

“This is a tremendous vote of confidence from our largest customer. This investment will further our efforts to reach more people with our technology, provide world-class service to our clients and execute our growth plans for our company,” Herbison says.

Last month, Plexure said it expected revenue for the year ended March is likely to exceed $16.8 million, up more than 40 percent on the previous year. However rising costs mean annual profit is likely to be about $1 million, little changed from the first half, excluding the impact of a maturing convertible note issue.

The first-half net profit of $1.1 million was Plexure’s maiden profit.

The conversion date for the notes was March 29 and most converted to equity because Plexure’s shares were trading well above the conversion or cash price of 12 cents. That will drag reported net profit down by more than $1.6 million, although there will be no cash impact.

Plexure listed on NZX in 2012 as Vmob via a backdoor listing that included issuing shares at 2.5 cents each. It changed its name to Plexure in 2016. The last time Plexure raised capital was in August 2017 when it sold shares priced at 10 cents each.



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