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LoopUp Group flying high after sparkling 2017

The company's eponymous flagship product is not the only remote meetings enabler out there, but judging by the company's rapid growth, it is one of the best
Empty meeting room
Is anybody there? Anyone? Bueller?

Floated at a pound a pop in August 2016, shares in remote meetings technology firm LoopUp Group PLC (LON:LOOP) have soared since then.

By the middle of June 2017, they were up to 150p, since when they have more than doubled, helped by a strong performance in 2017 as revenues and profits soared.

READ: LoopUp tops expectations with 2017 results as more big firms sign up

The markets had been expecting as much after LoopUp reported solid first-half results back in September and revealed that the strong performance had continued into the second half.

Revenues, profits and margins in 2017 were well ahead of 2016, driven by strong demand from mid-to-large companies for LoopUp’s eponymous flagship conferencing product.

Among those signed up in the second half of 2017 was a major newspapers and media group, a leading asset management firm and a global human rights organisation.

The group generated particularly strong revenue growth in the US in 2017, with 51% of revenue now from that region, 40% from the UK, 7% from continental Europe and 2% from the rest of the world.

The group’s top 100 customers accounted for 62% of the LoopUp product’s revenue and the top 500 accounted for 91%.

The only way is LoopUp

In a nutshell, the company’s core product aims to make audio conferencing a whole lot simpler, and more productive.

It is estimated that 13 minutes – or around a third of these sessions – are wasted trying to patch people or repeating information for the late-comers.

It is an irritant, but if you look at the impact on an international scale and frame it in terms of lost man-hours, then it adds up to a £14bn-a-year brake on productivity in the UK and US alone.

So, the company is addressing a potentially massive market.

Sure, there are alternative communications platforms out there developed by software firms and telecommunication companies, but they either fail to address the familiar chaos or are just too complicated to encourage widespread adoption.

LoopUp, on the other hand, thinks its system has cracked the problem.

WATCH: How LoopUp Group's helping the 'silent, suffering majority'

Using Microsoft Outlook it takes just two clicks to organise a meeting and LoopUp sends out alerts to the host when their first guest joins the meeting.

It uses traditional telephony supplied by tier-one operators across four centres globally, but dial-in numbers aren’t the preferred method for joining LoopUp meetings.

Rather, you simply click a link displayed on your computer, smartphone and tablet, and LoopUp then calls you on the phone of your choice.

Onscreen is displayed the participants – so you know who is there and who exactly is talking.

Users can even share biographical details via LinkedIn and there is a “big, orange, Fisher Price-type button” on the desktop that allows them to share documents and presentations.

Dialling the right numbers

The AIM-quoted company reported a 36% rise in LoopUp revenues to £17.5mln (2016: £13.6mln), while gross profits jumped 40% to £13.4mln (2016: £9.6mln) as margins improved to 76.7% (2016: 74.5%).

Underlying earnings (EBITDA) surged 161% higher in the year to £3.5mln (2016: £1.3mln) and LoopUp finished the year with net cash of £2.9mln.

“We're very pleased to report continued strong business performance ahead of market expectations,” said co-chief executives Steve Flavell and Michael Hughes.

“Our track record of consistent revenue growth has been maintained and has, in fact, accelerated on a constant currency basis.

“Our strategy of focusing on the needs and challenges of discerning mainstream business conference callers, who want a high quality, non-intimidating experience on every call, continues to resonate and return strong, consistent and efficient business growth.”

Flavell and Hughes added: “We continue to see strong demand for our product from our target market of mid-to-large enterprise and professional services firms. Our highly differentiated market positioning and competitive strategy, combined with our efficient new business unit economics, make for an exciting outlook and we remain confident in our ability to deliver further growth."

Future growth opportunities

The technology firm naturally prospers when one of its customers expands geographically because it follows that the more people a company employs in diverse locations, the greater the need for LoopUp’s technology, which means the company naturally sees mid-to-large enterprises as a growth opportunity.

However, the professional services sector is also a rich seam for the company to mine, even at the smaller end of the scale, as these customer-facing companies typically have a need to hold remote meetings with their clients.

“We see growth continuing to come from both of those target groups,” Flavell has said.

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