Feeds

PhoneLink profitability in sight says CEO

Acquisition strategy drives return to the black -- but not this year

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

"We've been described as a stock-market dog," said Graham Ramsey, CEO of PhoneLink, the loss-making Tel-Me online content provider, "but our acquisition strategy is working and we're very bullish about the future." In 1996 PhoneLink reported £4 million turnover and a £7 million loss. By March 1997, turnover was static but the loss doubled to £6 million. By March 1998, the loss was only £3 million, but then again, so was turnover. Come August 1988, turnover shot up to £55 million and the newly made-over company said it was poised to move into profitability. "We had to generate organic growth but we knew it wouldn't be enough," explained Ramsey, who was brought in to mastermind PhoneLink's recovery and acquisition strategy, and the company paid around £16 million for two very profitable businesses, GB Mailing and Seaforths Travel Agency. Both deals included deferred and share elements, but Ramsey said the share swaps indicated mutual confidence, and that PhoneLink's current wellbeing justifies that confidence. The Seaforths Travel Agency has an online commerce product called Ticket Window that interfaces with the Galileo reservation system and PhoneLink integrated it with the Tel-Me service. "Over the past 18 months we've seen 20 per cent of business come from Seaforth," said Ramsey, and PhoneLink has picked up a raft of awards for Seaforth, including the Service award in BT's Electronic Business Awards for Innovations in E-Business. Electronic business is a growth area for PhoneLink and the company is hatching new products and services. The second acquisition, GB Information Management, specialises in addressing systems and they dovetail neatly with PhoneLink's bureau telephone numbering services. So is it all rosy again at the one-time high flier? No, not quite, according to Ramsay. The company is due to report in December and it's in the closed period now, unable to make any financial forecasts, but Ramsay confirmed that the core business remains unprofitable. PhoneLink employs 220 staff, no change from 1996, but it has shed over 170 employees and implemented stringent cost-cutting in the core business, according to financial director Richard Law. Ramsay is confident that the business will be profitable, but its recovery may owe less to the original Tel-Me technology than to the added value systems from Seaforth and GB Information. Input from acquisitions has fuelled PhoneLink's recovery, and while Ramsay sees lots of opportunities for dynamic growth, "we won't discount future acquisitions," he said. PhoneLink has still to convince the market and its share price, once an over-hyped £4.40, hovers around £0.40 today. ® Click for more stories

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.