Belgravium looks to brighter future for handheld devices

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Handheld computer firm Belgravium Technologies said the economic outlook is at long last improving and it expects this to encourage its customers to start spending more readily.

The Bradford-based group, which designs and sells handheld terminals for sectors including aviation and fuel distribution, said 2013 was a year of consolidation in the core business and it expects to make accelerated progress in 2014.

The group reported full-year 2013 results in line with market forecasts with profits of £400,000 – up from £336,000 last time. Revenues fell to £8.4m from £8.7m.

John Kembery, chairman of Belgravium, said: “We believe the measures we have taken over the last few years to reduce costs and enhance our product offering have placed Belgravium in a good position to capitalise on this change and that 2014 will prove to be a significantly more successful year.”

The group said that the second half of the year was stronger than the first and the overall results, before exceptional costs, were broadly in line with expectations.

It added that it has been another tough year for sales in the continuing business, but measures to increase margins and reduce administrative costs have been successful.

During the year it completed the £600,000 acquisition of workforce management firm Feedback Data, which it said is already producing a profit.

Back in 2012 Feedback Data made a turnover of £1.925m and a pre-tax loss and group management charge of £54,000.

Feedback suffered very difficult trading conditions over recent years, which resulted in the company’s debts increasing.

It has clients in logistics, manufacturing, healthcare, leisure and consumer retail sectors.

Analyst Eric Burns at WH Ireland said: “Despite only being acquired in June, Feedback Data made a good contribution to the earnings line of £144,000, helping to offset the 42 per cent earnings decline at the existing Belgravium business.

“With 2013 out of the way, the clear opportunity for Belgravium now is to demonstrate some real growth, helped by Feedback which ought to be capable of contributing £250,000 to earnings this year.

“If this can be achieved, together with recovery in the core mobile retail/logistics business, then the stock will undoubtedly look cheap against improving multiples elsewhere in the sector. We move our recommendation to Buy (from Outperform).”