Firm's got a ticket to ride pre-tax profits

ALAN WOOD
Last updated 05:00 28/07/2014

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Christchurch's Connexionz says its pre-tax profit has improved after good progress on some of its United States contracts.

The electronic bus-information company's annual net pre-tax profit ended March was $285,134, up 54 per cent on the 2013 year. Revenue rose 16 per cent to $3.45m.

Connexionz makes real-time passenger information systems for public transport, giving passengers arrival times through websites and smartphones and interactive bus stop signs. Its systems also help bus operators manage their fleets.

In New Zealand it has systems working in Christchurch and Timaru. Chairman Bruce Sheppard said the firm was also chasing sales in other regions. Including United States work, the company had a "fairly full order book", and had doubled its sales staff for the US market to two.

Based in New Zealand, they would travel to the United States to deal with installation and support issues.

"The US market is the easiest market because we've got critical mass now, [but] we still care passionately about New Zealand," Sheppard said.

During the 2013-14 year Connexionz was awarded an US$800,000 (NZ$932,000) contract for the supply of an automated vehicle-location and passenger-information system for the Kings County Area Public Transit Agency in California.

Kings County is the fifth customer for Connexionz in California and the company said it validated a strategy to focus sales and marketing efforts on the United States west coast.

In the same year it completed a US$500,000 contract to supply a system for the city of Corvallis in Oregon, and was installing a US$2.8 million system for the Golden Empire Transit District in Bakersfield, California, that it won in January 2013.

It was also working on a contract with the city of Pasadena that was awarded in January 2012, and after unexpected challenges would finish it in the 2015 financial year.

Connexionz said that while delivering the new contracts in California and Oregon it had been developing its product, improving the reliability and functionality of the hardware and software.

Connexionz has systems installed and operating in the United States, Australia and New Zealand. The company plans to target a wider area of the United States going forward, while it has been mainly working on the west coast in recent years.

Sheppard said the company was expecting an improvement in net profit and revenues in the year to March 31, 2015, from 2014. "We have a projection but we'll firm that up as we get closer to the annual meeting [in September]."

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