Systems company posts 42% growth

ONE of Suffolk’s most rapidly expanding companies has seen its rate of growth accelerate further, the annual results of its parent group have revealed.

Communications group KCOM has reported a 40% increase in pre-tax profits to �41.2m for the year to March 31, despite a 4.2% dip in turnover to �395.4m, reflecting a move to exit some low-margin operations.

But its Ipswich-based systems integration and managed services business Smart421 contributed a 42% increase in annual sales, from �16.2m to �23m, through its work with a wide range of clients including such well-known names as O2, Virgin Atlantic and Aviva.

The figure represents a continuing upward trend for Smart421, which is based at the Felaw Maltings complex, following sales growth of 33% at the half-year stage.

Smart421 optimises clients’ information and communications technology systems, developing bespoke software to improve the interface between different parts of the system and 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.

Neil Miles, managing director at Smart421, said that, despite the challenging economic climate, major companies still needed to ensure they remained “agile and competitive” and he believed the company was well-placed for further growth.

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Having increased its workforce by more than half in the past year, from around 150 to more than 230, Smart421 has recently taken additional office space at Felaw Maltings, and it is continuing to recruit, both for permanent and contract roles.

“We have continued to be very busy at the start of the new year,” said Mr Miles. “We have a good spread of customers across a number of sectors and I believe we will see further growth.”

Mr Miles, who was born in Ipswich, added that, besides employing people directly, the company also used local services wherever possible, including for most of its recruitment

It was also pleasing that the company’s client list included a number of local businesses, including Ipswich-based Haven Power, he added.