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Craneware says sales ‘healthy’ after profits dip

Craneware's Keith Neilson. Picture: Contributed

Craneware's Keith Neilson. Picture: Contributed

  • by PETER RANSCOMBE
 

SOFTWARE house Craneware is back on the acquisition trial in the United States and has unveiled plans to increase its headcount by a quarter at its Edinburgh head office.

The company, which writes billing programs for US hospitals, took over ClaimTrust in 2011 in a deal worth up to $19.5 million (£12.4m).

Now the firm is back on the hunt for takeover targets that will broaden its product range.

Chief executive Keith Neilson told The Scotsman that the company is also developing software in-house and is looking to expand its team in Edinburgh.

The firm currently has about 80 staff at its Tanfield office and Neilson is looking for a further 20 product developers.

Craneware has also beefed up its senior management team after delays in securing contracts with larger clients, which led to a profit warning in June. The firm has already appointed a chief marketing officer (CMO) and a senior vice-president and is looking to take on at least one non-executive director from within the healthcare industry to talk to the board about what hospital finance directors want from their software.

Neilson said: “A lot of the big deals take place at a chief executive to chief executive level. There’s been a lot of consolidation – both among the big hospital groups and their technology suppliers – and, as soon as that kind of activity starts, it’s the chief executives that are called away.

“We were a bit light in this area and so appointing a CMO will help us to carry on talks over those contracts below chief executive level.”

His comments came as Craneware posted a 1 per cent rise in revenues for the year to 30 June to $41.5m.

House broker Peel Hunt said that the lack of major contracts had masked a 10 per cent rise in sales to smaller hospitals.

Underlying profits rose by 4 per cent to $11.2m, allowing the company to increase its total dividend by 9.5 per cent to 11.5p.

Julian Yates, an analyst at Investec Securities, said: “The stock has recovered strongly post the recent pre-close profit warning.”

 

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