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Vianet Group PLC (VNET)

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Wednesday 14 April, 2021

Vianet Group PLC

Trading and COVID-19 Update and Notice of Results

RNS Number : 3646V
Vianet Group PLC
14 April 2021
 

 

14 April 2021

Vianet Group plc

 

("Vianet" or the "Group")

 

Trading and COVID-19 Update and Notice of Results

 

Vianet Group plc (AIM: VNET), the international provider of actionable data and business insight through devices connected to its Internet of Things ("IOT") platform, today provides an update on progress and trading. We anticipate releasing results for the financial year ended 31 March 2021 on Tuesday, 15 June 2021.

 

We believe there are significant growth opportunities for the Group as the UK emerges from lockdown and COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.   From the outset of the pandemic, our principal focus has been on working closely with customers, effectively managing cash, and rationalising operations, providing a strong platform from which to capitalise as restrictions ease.

 

Although the vast majority of H2 was characterised by a more challenging Government regime of enforced lockdowns and pub closures, we are very pleased to report that, notwithstanding this challenging business backdrop, trading for the period showed a slight improvement on our H1 financial performance; free operational cash flow in H2 was neutral despite one-off rationalisation costs and the delayed receipt of £0.45m which arrived post year end.

 

We anticipate for the financial year end March 2021 the Group will report an adjusted operating loss in the region of £0.7m and c. £1.1m of operational cash generation.  

 

COVID-19 Update

As a result of the success of the Government's vaccine efforts and a clear roadmap for the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions and the re-opening of hospitality and offices, we anticipate returning to more normalised trading from July. As confidence returns, we are continuing to engage with our customers and as a result we estimate that 50% of our installed sites will have re-commenced some form of trading by the end of April, with over 90% back on stream by early June. 

Unsurprisingly, the re-opening plans for some city-centre pubs may take slightly longer due to their reliance on offices re-opening or because limited space prevents them from implementing current social distancing guidelines.

 

Recent evidence suggests that the further easing of lockdown restrictions will result in a gradual return to office-based work over the summer, which will provide further momentum for our growing vending telemetry and contactless payment services and solutions.

 

Inevitably, sales growth from our key European markets and customers has been held back as the continent wrestles with its vaccine programme and rising case numbers. However, we are confident that this is just a temporary setback, and we remain well positioned as countries and economies begin to unlock.

 

Summary and Outlook

In the context of these unprecedented business challenges, the Board is extremely proud of the continued financial discipline that has been adopted and remains confident that Vianet will emerge from this global crisis in a strong financial position, enabling the Group to take advantage of the exciting growth opportunities that lie ahead.

 

In addition to ensuring our continued financial discipline we remain committed to safeguarding our employee health and well-being whilst supporting our customers.

 

James Dickson, Chairman & Interim CEO, commented:

"Our actions to support our customers and maintain investment through the pandemic, while sustaining a good level of recurring revenue beyond our own expectations, has placed the Group in an excellent position to benefit from the increased demand for data insight and contactless solutions as the economy recovers. 

 

"We are also very aware of the challenges our employees have faced during the past year and are proud of their collective response and the first-rate level of staff engagement through the crisis, which has resulted in a significant increase in Best Companies' survey ratings.  

 

"Although there have been unprecedented business challenges, the Board is very confident that as the restrictions ease, we have implemented the correct measures enabling the Group to capitalise on the momentum we had generated before this global crisis and to take advantage of the exciting growth opportunities which lie ahead."

 

This announcement contains inside information.

 

 

- Ends -

 

  Enquiries:

Vianet Group plc


James Dickson, Chairman & Interim CEO

Mark Foster, CFO

Tel: +44 (0) 1642 358 800

www.vianetplc.com

Cenkos Securities plc


Stephen Keys / Camilla Hume

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7397 8900


www.cenkos.com  

Media enquiries:

Yellow Jersey PR


Sarah Hollins

Henry Wilkinson 

[email protected]

  Tel: +44 (0)7764 947 137

  Tel: +44 (0)7951 402 336

www.yellowjerseypr.com

 

About Vianet

Vianet Group is a leading provider of actionable management information and business insight created through combining data from our smart Internet of Things ('IOT') solutions and external information sources.

Since Admission to AIM in 2006, the Group has grown from its core beer monitoring business both organically and through strategic acquisitions to widen its offering and develop new businesses, especially in vending telemetry and contactless payment solutions particularly for the premium coffee sector.

Servicing over 300 customers across the world and rendering live data to our IOT platform from over 250,000 connected machines daily, Vianet is one of the largest business to business (b2b) connected solutions providers in Europe with established long-term relationships with blue chip customers and growing recurring revenues which are over 85% of our total revenues.

In our Smart Machines Division, we connect a single data gathering device with its own on-board communication capability to a customer's asset or system.  The device then sends data back via our IOT platform to cloud based servers.  The technology was originally developed for automated retailing machines; however, the flexibility and functionality of the device means the technology can be applied to practically any machine which has the capability to output data.  The device is also used to connect our contactless payment solution and communicate payment terms to our cloud-based payment services providers where that application is also required.

The Smart Zones Division is where we connect multiple data gathering devices into one or more systems or assets with the data from those devices being communicated back to our IOT platform and cloud-based servers via a single 3G communications hub.  The technology was originally developed for flow monitoring devices, temperature sensors, and asset management in drinks retailing but practically any data gathering device with a digital output could be connected to the communications hub where required such as gaming machines, utilities management and EPOS.

For further information, please visit www.vianetplc.com

 

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