Ipswich: Continued growth for KCOM company Smart421

IPSWICH-based systems integration specialist Smart421 has maintained its rapid growth, half-year results from its parent company revealed today.

KCOM Group reported 16.4% growth in pre-tax profits for the six months to September 30, from �23.2million in last year’s first half to �27.0m.

Group-wide turnover was 1.6% ahead, up from �194.8m to �198.0m, but Smart421, which is based at Felaw Maltings, contributed a 26% increase in sales, from �10.8m to �13.6m.

“Smart421’s strong performance reflects their ability to provide large corporate customers with specialist consultancy services focused on cloud technologies and the integration of complex business processes,” said KCOM in its interim report today.

“Half-year growth has been driven by successfully delivering against a sustained demand from existing customers and from new contract wins, including Haven Power, BT and Broadgate Estates.”

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Smart421, which is headed by Ipswich-born managing director Neil Miles and has increased its workforce from 150 to more than 250 in the past 18 months, optimises clients’ information and communications technology systems, developing bespoke software to improve the interface between different parts of the system and then providing on-going 24/7 back-up.

Besides increasing the flexibility of clients’ existing systems, the company also helps advise them on how the latest developments in technology could also improve their businesses.

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Mr Miles said Smart421’s growth reflected a continued focus on helping clients to respond to the challenging economic environment in a cost-effective manner, such as by adopting “cloud” technology to minimise systems costs.

“It can be difficult for larger companies, with a lot of technology in place, to adapt but that is where we specialise,” he said.

As well as securing new customers, Smart421 also worked to build on-going relationships with existing clients and this too contributed to its growth.

The second half of the financial year had started well, added Mr Miles, and the outlook for the next six months remained positive.

“It is a very challenging market out there, but it has been a challenging market for some time and we see no reason why we cannot continue to grow,” he said.

As part of the group’s previously announced plan to increase its annual dividend payment by at least 10% both this year and next, there will be an interim dividend of 1.33p per share, up from 1.1p for last year’s first half.

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