Profit boost for ThirdForce

12 Apr 2005

E-learning courseware provider ThirdForce has reported a sharp rise in profits in revenue, suggesting that the e-learning market may at last be returning to strong growth.

The Dublin and London-based firm’s results for the year ended 31 December 2004 showed operating profit increasing fivefold to €1.76m from €349k in 2003 and revenues rising to €12m from €7.75m the previous year.

Strong cash flow of €3.1m was generated from operating activities while pre-tax losses were slashed from €875k in 2003 to €324k in 2004. Net debt rose from €1.7m to €2m, which was attributed to strong investment outflow of €3.25m during the year.

Earnings per share (before goodwill, amortisation and non-recurring items) rose to 1.03 cent, up from loss per share of -0.05 cent for the previous period.

The company’s performance strengthened during the year with the July-December period yielding operating profit of €1.13m (before non-recurring items and goodwill).

The company attributed the strong performance to the addition of new products and channels via the partnership with Harcourt Education International in the UK schools market. The rollout of an online assessment product, AutoTest, to Ufi Learndirect’s network of more than 2,000 learning centres across the UK was also cited as a key factor.

The company said Irish e-learning firms Electric Paper and AV Edge in 2003 and 2004 had been successfully integrated within the group and providing a foundation for growth.

Commenting on the results Brendan O’Sullivan, CEO of ThirdForce, said: “The success in 2004 has positioned us well to extend our business in 2005 into new market sectors and to increase our investment in our existing product portfolio. Our successful expansion of the business, beyond IT literacy and across a broad range of learning markets, will have a positive impact in our core UK business while capitalising on growing global demand.

“We will build on our progress to date by seeking suitable acquisitions that bring benefits to our growing client base and deliver continued value for our shareholders. In this way we will enhance our growth and achieve our ambition to take ThirdForce to a market-leading position as a truly global e-learning company.”

By Brian Skelly