Pelatro PLC (LON:PTRO) Chief Executive Officer Subash Menon caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss their preliminary results
Q1: First off, congratulations on your continued growth in 2017, can you talk us through the highlights?
A1: Yes, basically the first thing was the significant growth that we had over 2016, that was one important thing on revenue basis and continuing on the profitability as well.
The second aspect was the number of customers that we won, we had customer in 2015, 2 in 2016 and we won 4 in 2017 so that has helped us to go deeper into the telco space so that’s the second thing that happened. So, on the overall, I think the business itself held up very well and progressed quite nicely.
Naturally, on the IPO side, we had a wonderful float towards the end of 2017 so that was a very important milestone as well which has now helped us now to have a much stronger balance sheet. So, we’ve got some good customers, very referenceable, we’ve got a strong balance sheet and that sets the stage for good growth in the coming years, both organic and inorganic means.
So, I think 2017 was a transformational year for us, setting the stage for the future.
Q2: Talking about good customers, you recently won a record contract worth $1.7 million, could you explain the significance of this for Pelatro?
A2: It really it two-fold, one if that the customer itself is a Western European telco, although the product is being implemented in one of their opco’s in Central Asia and this gives us an opportunity to move into a Western European telco operation out there. So, this will also then help us to move further into other opco’s, as we establish ourselves in that particular opco we can look at other opco’s off the Western European telco which are in Western Europe. So, I think this will straight away open up, over the next 8-10 months, opportunities for us to be in Western Europe itself which is one of the key objectives that we had when we did the IPO. So, that’s one significance.
The second significance is that in as far as this contract, apart from taking the product from us which is what most of the contracts are all about, they are also taking consultancy services from us for a 12-month period. Our consultants will help them to set up the whole team for campaign management, train the team, set up the proficiencies etc. and finally hand over this whole thing to them to run the show from there on so that’s going to be a one-year long consultancy engagement.
So, this positions us as someone who is a specialist in this space so it’s not just the product that we’re providing, we also have a lot of intelligence and experience and expertise in this space. So, when we go for other sales opportunities, we can showcase this capability of ours which will be very interesting to our future customers.
I think because of these two reasons, this was a very very important contract for us to win and that, once again, positions us as a very strong player with the expertise and knowledge in the space.
Q3: Can you describe a bit more about Pelatro’s market and what trends you see in there?
A3: Our market continues to be the whole precision marketing, campaign management kind of area but one trend that we’re seeing is that someone like Gartner is actually trying to redefine the space as multi-channel marketing hub so that’s the new terminology that they’ve come up with, we would probably call it multi-channel marketing platform. So, what we now need to do is to quickly understand the areas, which we are already doing, other adjacent products, related products, complementary products that we could come up with and have a platform.
So, clearly the whole space is moving towards platformisation, if I may call it, with multiple products which are very well integrated, working together as a suite. This is of particular interest to us as this is exactly what we experienced in my earlier company, Subex, where we started with one product, we added a second one and soon we had a suite of products and that is a good strategy for us to have. So, I’m seeing this space also moving in a similar direction and we are absolutely ready for that so we’re looking at new products going forward.
I think the strategy that we have, the direction we want the market to take and the direction that it is taking, are exactly the same so that’s interesting for us.
Q4: Now, you’ve increased your sales and marketing efforts, what impact is this having?
A4: We’ve already expanded our pipeline so that’s a direct impact, naturally, we’ve got a sales person in North Africa, West Africa and Central Eastern Europe and we’ve already seen opportunities coming from Central and Eastern Europe through this person.
So expended sales, expanded pipelines, that’s what the impact and that is exactly what the objective is.
Q5: What can investors expect in terms of news flow over the coming months? What’s on the agenda for Pelatro?
A5: We believe that’s going to be two-fold, one is with regards to more customer wins out of the pipeline, we have a very strong pipeline, so we do expect a few more customer wins during 2018 and that would be one element of the news flow.
The second thing is more strategic in nature, now that we have got the building blocks in place by way of a product that’s really well accepted by the market, very strong set of referenceable customers and a strong balance sheet, all of that are the building blocks in place. So, we would now build on that by way of, apart from organic growth, inorganic growth as well so this would possibly mean acquisition opportunities for us, so we would be focussing on some of those, we would be on the look-out for something like that and of course, more customers and maybe even some more products. If that was to happen, then we would have that as a news flow as well for the investors, the strategic moves on the acquisition side.
So, it’s going to be both more contract wins as well as a potential acquisition.