Alternative Networks: CEO retiring, long live...

Ed Spurrier to hang up boots once current fiscal closes

Alternative Networks will wave goodbye to long-serving CEO Ed Spurrier at the end of this fiscal year in September, with current chief operations man Mark Quartermaine waiting in the wings for the top job.

The LSE-listed comms and tech outfit confirmed the succession plans today as it outlined half-year numbers for fiscal 2015, showing a 17 per cent hike in sales to £74m (up seven per cent organically).

The Advanced Solutions unit, which houses the Control Circle and Intercept IT acquisitions, reported turnover of £37.2m, up 51.2 per cent year on year. Excluding the buys, sales went up 30.5 per cent.

These companies cost Alternative £50m — in the six months of this financial year, Control Circle revenues fell 13 per cent due to two customer delaying projects, and Intercept IT grew seven per cent on a pro forma basis.

Both business have fully docked with the mothership.

Revenues and unit sales expanded across hardware and software groups to £12.1m from £10.7m, and demand for professional services continued to rise, helping to inject some love into gross margins.

The Mobile Telephony sub reported flat sales at £22.4m — mobile churn remained low but network churn increased with smaller billing customers walking to rivals.

As expected, the Telephony Services Fixed Voice biz shrank to £14.4m from £16.1m. Customer churn, a reduction in call volumes to mobiles, and regulatory price reductions were blamed.

Operating expenses went up on the back of the acquisitions to £24.5m from £20.2m, leaving operating profit of £6.3m, up 31.2 per cent. Finance costs and income, and tax resulted in a net profit of £4.5m, versus £3.58m in the same period a year ago.

So not a bad first half for Alternative and its outgoing CEO Spurrier, who is set to retire from the end of summer. Spurrier joined as FD in 1999, and was made chief beanie in 2003 before being made CEO in January 2013. Previously he was at PWC and Panmure Gordon.

His successor Quartermaine joined Alternative as COO last year having previously run Juniper in the UK. Prior to that he was boss at Capita IT Services and Azzurri Communications. ®

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