Continued successful execution against strategy leads to further earnings upgrade.
Strong early progress on expanded product roadmap.
PCI-PAL PLC (AIM: PCIP), the global cloud provider of secure payment solutions for business communications, is pleased to announce that following continued strong performance since the half year, the Group anticipates that results for the full year to June 2022 will be better than current market expectations.
The first half of the financial year was another period of significant progress for the Group, and this momentum has continued into the third quarter. At the end of the quarter, all key metrics for the Group were again performing ahead of management's expectations. The Group's key indicator of future recurring revenues of TACV2 increased to £12.5 million as at 31 March 2022, following a further £1.1 million ACV1 added in Q3. ARR3 has now reached a key milestone of £10 million. As at 31 March 2022, cash had increased to £6.4 million (31 December 2021: £5.5 million).
The Group continues to cement its position as the leader in true-cloud solutions through strong channel relationships in its space. During the quarter, the Company signed a number of additional new strategic target partnerships, including:
- a marketplace partnership with the global CCaaS4 provider Five9, which is using a repeatable integration created with a newly signed and deployed enterprise sized customer in the U.S.
- a reseller agreement with a European Gartner magic quadrant CCaaS4 vendor that specialises in enterprise size contact centres, and
- a global reseller partnership with another one of the largest call centre Business Process Outsourcers6 in the world.
In the quarter, the Group has also renewed its existing long standing relationships with two of the largest government contact centres in the U.K., adding a further minimum two year term to each relationship.
With this strong expansion of existing customer accounts, combined with Churn rates of less than 3%, the Group has continued to deliver excellent Net Revenue Retention5 performance which now stands at 118% at the end of the quarter.
As a result of continued strong financial performance across the business, the Directors now anticipate that the results for the year to June 2022 will exceed their previous expectations.
Expansion Plans & Product Development
Following the launch of the Canadian business in H1, in Q3 PCI Pal successfully launched its Australian business. With a newly appointed ANZ sales head hired from a principal competitor, together with the Group's existing partner and customer presence in the region, the Directors are encouraged by the start made by the business in this new territory.
Following the global industry hiring headwinds experienced in H1, recruitment for the Company was slower than anticipated. In Q3, the market for talent improved and the expansion-led hiring strategy is on track. This key planned investment in talent has included new expertise in the Product team, with the first step of a broadened product strategy being the recently announced partnership with the international open banking payment provider, TrueLayer.
As the current financial year progresses, further updates will be made on PCI Pal's new product development roadmap. The Group is not only strengthening its existing leading compliance and security solutions, but also working towards introducing further payments-focused services to customers and partners for utilisation across all business communications environments. Light-touch, cloud-based payment services are particularly relevant within contact centres and this broadening of the product set is expected to further deepen channel partner relationships and add value to PCI Pal's end-customers, thereby further expanding the Group's addressable market.
Update on Unfounded Patent Infringement Claims
In September 2021, the Group announced that Semafone, one of its main competitors, had filed lawsuits in both the U.K. and the U.S. relating to alleged patent infringement by PCI Pal. The Directors strongly refute the claims being made.
During Q3, the following procedural progress was made: In the U.K., the Court process continued and cost budgets of approximately £1.3 million were agreed for both parties with the Court. This agreed budget puts a ceiling on the maximum amount of costs that could be awarded against the losing side, subject to the judge's discretion, should the case go to Court. The next step is for Semafone to provide to the Court by the end of April 2022 detailed disclosures as to their reasons why they believe PCI Pal infringes their patent. PCI Pal has to provide to the Court detailed reasons as to why Semafone's patent is invalid by the same date.
In the U.S., PCI Pal filed a motion to dismiss the case based on the argument that Semafone's U.S. patents are invalid because they are too abstract to be patentable (an "Alice" motion). The court conducted a hearing on the Alice motion on 18 April 2022, and PCI Pal awaits the judge's decision within the coming months. In parallel, planning continues for the potential next stages of the U.S. court process should PCI Pal's Alice motion be denied. In that instance, PCI Pal will seek a court ruling that PCI Pal does not infringe Semafone's patents and that Semafone's patents are invalid in view of the prior art.
The Board continues to be very confident in the Company's position on both the defence of the claims made and on the counterclaims made against Semafone.
U.S. Patent Covering Cloud IP
In March 2022, the Group announced the approval for grant of one of its patent applications in the U.S. This followed the U.S. Patent Office's reviews of prior art and competitor patents, including those of Semafone Limited. This new U.S. patent grant reflects the Company's position as the first in its market to launch globally available, true-cloud services, incorporating light-touch, cloud-to-cloud integration methodology. The patent protects PCI Pal's core cloud innovation as to how it interacts with phone calls to secure data and is relevant to the majority of PCI Pal's AWS platform deployments across partners and direct customers. PCI Pal intends to protect its IP and use this innovation as a method to further commercialise the Company's planned product expansion.
Commenting on the update, James Barham, Chief Executive Officer, said:
"Since launching our cloud services five years ago, we have delivered on our core objectives of: establishing the first globally available, true-cloud secure payment platform for business communications; building a market-leading partner eco-system; and making our services available globally to partners and customers alike. We are now reaping the returns on this investment through a valuable recurring SaaS business model. With another strong quarter delivered, that model has enabled the Group to further increase its market expectations for the current financial year.
"Last year we took the decision to invest further in international expansion, as well as in product development, in order to create complementary solutions and services that are relevant to our market-leading partner eco-system and end-customers. The international expansion is on track as planned and we are very excited with the initial momentum in our product development activities. As well as strengthening our core compliance and security-centric products today, we will begin to layer in additional payment-centric services specifically designed for the business communications market. We expect this in turn to further grow our addressable market as these new products are released."
1 ACV is the contracted annual recurring licence revenue component of the contract.
2 TACV is the total expected annual recurring revenue from all contracted customers, whether invoiced and included in deferred revenue or still to be deployed and/or invoiced.
3 ARR is the annual recurring revenue generated from deployed contracts
4 CCaaS - Contact Centre as a Service providers such as Genesys, Vonage, Talkdesk, 8x8.
5 AWS platform net retention rate "NRR" is calculated using the opening total value of deployed contracts at the start of the period less the ACV of lost deployed contracts in the period plus the ACV of upsold contracts signed in the period all divided by the opening total value of deployed contracts at the start of the period
6 Business Process Outsourcers are organisations with large contact centre operations handling calls for third party businesses. These companies typically have tens or hundreds of thousands of contact centre agents globally.
For further information, please contact:
Via Walbrook PR
James Barham - Chief Executive Officer
William Good - Chief Financial Officer
finnCap (Nominated Adviser and Broker)
+44 (0) 20 7227 0500
Marc Milmo/Simon Hicks (Corporate Finance)
Richard Chambers (Corporate Broking)
+44 (0) 20 7933 8780
Tom Cooper/Nick Rome
+44 (0) 797 122 1972
About PCI Pal:
PCI Pal is a leading provider of Software-as-a-Service ("SaaS") solutions that empower companies to take payments from their customers securely, adhere to strict industry governance, and remove their business from the significant risks posed by non-compliance and data loss. Our products secure payments and data in any business communications environment including voice, chat, social, email, and contact centre. We are integrated to, and resold by, some of the worlds' leading business communications vendors, as well as major payment service providers.
The entirety of our product-base is available from our global cloud platform hosted in Amazon Web Services ("AWS"), with regional instances across EMEA, North America, and ANZ.
This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of the Market Abuse Regulation (EU) 596/2014 as it forms part of UK domestic law by virtue of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 ("MAR"), and is disclosed in accordance with the company's obligations under Article 17 of MAR.