Surveillance firm reduces losses amid casino travel restrictions

Surveillance firm Synectics, which provides security for casinos, high security prisons and transport operators, has reported a substantial impact from Covid-19 on customers’ operations, especially in the gaming sector.

Global travel restrictions on casinos in Las Vegas have hit Synectics
Global travel restrictions on casinos in Las Vegas have hit Synectics

The Sheffield-based firm has been hit by global travel restrictions on casinos and gaming resorts.

The group reported a substantial reduction in underlying losses which came in at £800,000 in the six months to May 31, down from a loss of £2m in the previous half year.

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It also reported “major successes” for its new contracts in Berlin the City of London and the West Midlands.

The end of the pandemic lockdown will boost Synectics' casino business

Revenue for the half year was £22m, down from £23m in the first half of 2020. The order book rose 19 per cent to £30.3m.

Paul Webb, Synectics’ chief executive, said: “Trading in the first half of the year was as expected, with significantly reduced operating losses, and major successes for the latest Synergy product.

“We expect that the group will trade profitably in the second half of this financial year.”

The firm said the cost reduction actions taken in 2020 delivered the expected savings.

Analyst Robert Sanders at Shore Capital said: “We are encouraged that management is sufficiently confident to reinstate guidance of an operating profit for the overall group in the second half and by the order book increase to £30.3m.

“We have highlighted on numerous occasions that, in our view, the contract wins in Berlin and the City of London would act as strong reference clients. We have reinstated forecasts of improving profits for each of the next three years, which we believe may well prove conservative.”

In April, Synectics announced it had won a major contract by the City of London Corporation and City of London Police to provide the software command and control system for their Secure City programme, co-ordinating security management across several other transport and emergency response agencies.

The company's major project for security command and control on the S-Bahn rail network in Berlin went live on January 1 as planned. Since then, the project has continued its roll-out across the network and delivery will be completed in this financial year, enabling the company to move into the eight-year service and maintenance phase of its contract.

Mr Webb said: "They're definitely generating some interest. London will be deployed in 2022.

"Berlin will be a fantastic reference. We started doing some webinar type promotions to a number of people over the last couple of months. At some point we're going to be able to say: 'Come and have a look at what we're doing in Berlin'."

He said the end of the pandemic lockdown will boost Synectics' casino business.

"We're already seeing some activity in North America. The guys are actually in Las Vegas next week, which has not really been possible for the last year or so," he said.

"We are projecting improvement and gaining revenue in North America at the back end of this year. I don't think that will happen in Asia until early 2022.

"All the indications are it won't just be a slow recovery, but it will be a fairly sharp bounce back.

"I'd have thought the gaming business will start to recover properly during 2022."