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AIT Group back from the brink

CRM pureplay makes strong comeback

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CRM pureplay AIT Group is making a strong comeback after its near-death experience during the latter part of 2002. With interim results showing a 19 per cent increase in revenue, it now looks like AIT could have a chance at future success.

For the six months ending September 30, 2003, customer interaction software vendor AIT's revenue rose to £10 million producing a profit of £1 million, compared to a loss of £37.8 million on revenue of £8.4 million during the corresponding period last year.

Having over-extended itself last year, AIT needed an emergency injection of cash from one of its original founders plus two other directors, and underwent a complete management change, reorganization and rationalization program. It slashed operating costs from £22.8 million to £9.5 million. It also raised GBP5 million of funding through the issue of convertible loan notes, which have now been converted into ordinary shares.

Although it is not complete, AIT's turnaround has been impressive - something that could not have been predicted with any certainty this time last year. It has achieved this by reverting to its original proven business plan of focusing tightly on the vertical industries it knows such as retail financial services, plus controlled expansion into complementary segments.

Its expertise lies in providing process and customer-interaction management capability to organizations with large numbers of customers and transactions plus complex products or services. These include retail banks, telcos, utilities and more recently the emergency services.

During the worst of its troubles, throughout the period May to October 2002, customers largely refrained from buying from AIT, and the company did not secure new customers. However, once refinancing and new management was in place, the interim figures show that they have resumed spending, indicating their faith not only in the product but also in AIT's management team. The team includes Nick Randall, who was instrumental in putting AIT into its original position of strength.

A clear candidate for acquisition a year ago, AIT's vertical market focus and deep expertise gives it a fighting chance for success in something like its current form.

Source: Computerwire/Datamonitor

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