SSP’s global view reaps reward with client wins

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IT services and systems provider SSP Group reported a 14 per cent increase in annual underlying earnings thanks to new client wins in South Africa, Asia and Australia and continental Europe.

The Halifax-based company, which provides business IT systems and services to the general insurance industry, said it expects future growth despite the sluggish UK economy.

SSP’s chief executive Laurence Walker said: “The industry is forecasting growth in our core markets.

“The market in Europe is flat, but organisations have now recovered from the shock of the economic downturn and said: ‘we have to become more efficient’.

“Globally, we’re seeing growth in the insurance market. The emerging middle class in China, India, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand are insuring their assets.”

SSP announced a 13.8 per cent increase in underlying earnings to £17.9m in the year to March 31. Revenue rose slightly from £71.0m to £71.7m.

Mr Walker said the group’s new subscription based revenue model is providing higher levels of recurring revenue, which gives it greater predictability in earnings.

“The subscription based model makes the business more predictable and robust. Rather than big lumpy licences we can align our prices to our customers’ success,” said Mr Walker.

SSP, which has 50,000 users in over 50 countries, counts AEGON, Admiral, AON, Capita, HSBC, Jardine Lloyd Thompson, Kwik Fit Insurance Services, Marsh, RBS, Swinton, Towergate and Zurich among its customers.

Over the last three years the group has rationalised eight acquisitions.

Revenue from the Insurer division, which supplies software and services to insurance companies in the UK and overseas, increased by 8.2 per cent to £21.5m.

SSP has invested in this business, with the acquisition of BES in South Africa and a 25 per cent investment in the South African insurance portal, Webgate.

Mr Walker said the broad geographic spread of the Insurer division, and its location in growth markets such as Africa and Asia Pacific, has helped to mitigate slower conditions in the UK.

SSP said the Broker division reported “slightly lower revenues” of £50.2m, but showed a positive increase in the recurring revenue base. The group said it has invested in product development throughout the year, as well as continuing the £15m programme to deliver SSP’s private cloud offering.

Following its expansion in Asia and Africa, SSP has developed multi-language systems.