Alex Kent: We have just delivered excellent financial results for Aspermont in the hardest business conditions in 10 years. Our recent guidance is that subscription growth has strong momentum, and our half year report confirms that our profit margins are growing. Aspermont has a strong financial position, and we are determined to remain cash flow positive. We intend to prioritise our organic growth opportunities and finance accelerated growth from our positive cash flow.
Aspermont has consistently reported positive earnings growth in recent years and FY21 will be no different. We have laid out more detailed guidance in our half year report and we expect to over deliver on guidance for all items this year, with momentum into the next fiscal year.
GBC AG: Please tell us about your new Virtual Event & Exhibition segment (VEE) which you are introducing in challenging times.
Alex Kent: Prior to the pandemic, we were working to develop virtual event and exhibition models, but the arrival of COVID and the suspension of live events obliged us to accelerate their formal launch. Unlike most events companies who currently offer 1-3-day virtual events, we decided our initial launch should be of a 365-day sponsored exhibition platform where we can add new content all the time over a year. As we increase virtual exhibition audience sizes, we can generate targeted marketing and sales leads for our clients all year round. So we are using these new platforms to drive our data business.
So far, our new VEE business has exceeded expectations, as we noted in our recent announcement, and we continue to see real forward momentum. It wont be long before we release our version 2 platforms and I'm excited to see how well they will enhance our performance.
GBC AG: The topic of sustainability/ESG is becoming increasingly important for investors. How do you take this into account in your company and your investments?
Alex Kent: ESG/sustainability is a big issue for all the global mining, energy, and agriculture industries to address. We play an active role in leading and showcasing discussion on these key issues through our publications and platforms. We recently launched the 'Digging for climate change' website as a new forum for mining industry companies, investors and those outside the mining industry to discuss and collaborate on new solutions. It has only just been launched, but we have already attracted some fantastic high-profile partners. With respect to our own day to day activities, we aim to continually shrink our carbon footprint, by co-sharing office space, removal of staff car parking, flexible home working, reducing work travel requirements etc. and we intend to introduce new policies to keep us up to speed with global initiatives.
Many years ago, we instituted 'paid for' only circulation of print magazines as we increasingly became digital publishers. Unlike the standard B2B media model of wide-spread 'controlled circulation', we only send printed material to subscribers who pay a premium for this product. Print will be a medium forever, albeit at a reduced level of overall importance. We can primarily meet customer demand with digital products, which reduce waste. I should note that all our print products are available digitally, in e-reader format and mobile apps, so we give ESG conscious users alternative ways to enjoy the print format without necessarily having to hold a traditional print magazine in their hands.
GBC AG: Finally, can you share your longer-term outlook? Where will Aspermont be in 3 to 5 years time?
Alex Kent: Each of our XaaS, Data and Services models have breadth and depth strategies and these all have decades ahead of potential organic growth, so we are going to be on this journey for a long time. Over the next few years, our successful B2B media disruption model will be cloned to new sectors globally. Aspermont topline growth should soon accelerate as COVID moves from centre stage and will likely compound annually at above 20% going forward. As a business, we will be increasingly profitable which in many respects is unusual for a XaaS and Data business. Our focus will be to develop new products with assured profit margins; so, the next 3 to 5 years should be an exciting time for our shareholders.
GBC AG: Mr. Kent, thank you very much for the interview
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May 26, 2021 08:01 ET (12:01 GMT)