News Column

21st Century Swings To Loss On Contract Loss, Suspends Dividend

May 9, 2014

Hana Stewart-Smith



LONDON (Alliance News) - 21st Century Technology PLC Friday swung into a loss for 2013 and suspended payment of its dividend, as it plans to re-focus its business after it lost a significant contract with Go-Ahead Group PLC.


The closed-circuit camera television and monitoring systems company posted a pretax loss of GBP218,000 for 2013, down from a restated pretax profit of GBP1.8 million, as revenue declined to GBP10.8 million from GBP14.0 million.


21st Century Tech restated its 2012 results to include direct labour costs and sub-contractors into its sales costs, rather than as administrative expenses.


The company paid its maiden interim dividend in June 2013 of 0.7 pence per share. However, it has now suspended its dividend payments until it has returned to sustainable profitability.


21st Century Tech has contracts with Arriva UK Bus and FirstGroup PLC, but major customer Go-Ahead opted not to renew its contract in mid-August 2013.


As a result of this contract loss and challenging market conditions, the company has opted to re-focus its business, starting with the appointment of new Chief Executive Officer Russ Singleton and Finance Director Glenn Robinson in October.


The new management team has undertaken a "thorough review" of the business, the company said, and intends to provide further details of its new strategy at the company's annual general meeting in June.


21st Century Technology pared back its international operations, including closing its French subsidiary and reducing its number of UK-based sales support staff. It also cut headcount in its UK division after it lost the Go-Ahead account, leading to lay-offs of 17% of UK staff in the first quarter of 2014.


It won contracts for two UK rail companies during 2013 worth GBP400,000 and GBP1.9 million respectively, which it said signalled the adoption of its systems in the rail market.


The company expects its revenues for 2014 to be similar to 2013, it said, although they remain dependant on keeping its customer accounts.


It said it was currently trading in line with its expectations, and expressed cautious optimism about the future.


Shares in 21st Century were trading down 25% at 4.50 pence Friday morning.







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Source: Alliance News


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