Datalex eyes China growth

Datalex — the Dublin-based company which provides e-commerce and retail software solutions to many of the world’s leading airlines and travel companies — is set to use China as a major growth platform this year, following continued strong financial performance during 2014.

The company yesterday reported a post-tax profit of $2.7m (€2.47m) for 2014; marking a 69% annual growth rate. Total group revenue rose by 9% to $41.4m, while basic earnings per share were up by 66% at 3.71c.

The 30-year-old company which paid its maiden dividend to shareholders only last year has also proposed a 50% increase in full-year dividend to 3c per share. Last year’s 60% increase in cash generated from operations, to $9.6m, has helped fund the dividend rise and has seen funds go into further product development.

Aidan Brogan, Datalex’s chief executive, called 2014 a year of continued performance and growth for the business.

“We have not only delivered double digit growth in adjusted EBITDA, but also secured significant new business wins. These new wins will drive our growth in the years ahead and further expand our market presence,” he said.

New business wins last year (which are set to go live with Datalex’s software this year and fully contribute to the company’s financials in 2016) included the likes of US low-cost carrier, JetBlue, Swiss International Airlines and the German-owned airline, Edelweiss. It also added small Chinese carrier, West Air; the significance of which is that it is owned by the far larger Hainan Airlines and could lead to Datalex gaining a much larger foothold in the world’s fastest growing travel market.

The company last year opened its first sales office in Beijing and has signed an agreement with an IT firm there, which will localise its products in the Far East.

Mr Brogan said, yesterday, that Datalex can grow organically, without the need to make acquisitions, for the next two-to-three years and that it can grow earnings by 20%-25% per annum over the coming three years.

He also said management is confident of adding one or two more airline customers in the Chinese region this year.

Datalex’s client roster includes the likes of Air China, Virgin Atlantic, South African Airways and Delta; and the company’s management also believes that IAG will, ultimately, prove successful in its bid to acquire Aer Lingus, another existing Datalex customer, with Mr Brogan suggesting that “change brings opportunity”.

Datalex’s share price was up by almost 3% in afternoon trading in Dublin yesterday.


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