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Cinema management software company Vista Group feels the COVID-19 pain

Cinema management software company Vista Group feels the COVID-19 pain

Core cinema market takes a dive, but new capital helps Vista Group innovate for the post-pandemic environment

Kimbal Riley (Vista Group)

Kimbal Riley (Vista Group)

Credit: Vista Group

NZX-listed Vista Group, a developer of cinema management software, reported a revenue plunge of 34 per cent in the first half of its 2020 year this morning.

Revenue for the half was $44.8 million was down from $67.5 million, while the company reported an EBITDA loss of $6.5 million, down 155 per cent from a profit of $11.8 million.

This included non-cash expected credit loss and credit risk provisions of $7.6 million.

A pre-tax loss of $47.9 million was down from a profit of $6.2 million in the first half of 2019 including non-cash impairment charges and credit provisions of $36.1 million.

Cinemas globally have been hard hit during the COVID-19 pandemic with many closed for varying periods or forced to operate at reduced capacity due to social distancing rules.

Auckland-based Vista Group raised $62.4 million of additional capital during the period, bolstering its balance sheet.

Kimbal Riley, Vista’s Group chief executive, said the company had successfully navigated a very challenging first half. 

"We have been planning, and re-planning, every step of the way through the COVID-19 pandemic and I am delighted to present a result for the half year which shows how resilient our business is given the global market conditions," Riley said.

The Vista team has been focused on ensuring customers were prepared for the re-opening of the cinema and it was exciting to see that happening, he said.

"The industry is re-opening and Vista has enhanced its relationships with its customers and its competitive position globally.”

Within the Group, revenue at the founding and largest business, Vista Cinema, was down 39 per cent due to the impact of COVID-19, with new license sales particularly impacted and down 61 per cent against the first half of 2019. 

Recurring revenue was down 22 per cent for the cinema segment due to lower billing in Veezi and discounts for maintenance customers, including for prompt payment.

Movio, the Vista Group business that delivers data driven marketing solutions for the film industry, reported revenue down 29 per cent. 

The other group companies were less affected by the pandemic.

Positive operating cashflow of $16.7 million was up 123 per cent on first half 2019, including $3.8 million of local and international wage subsidies and $3.8 million of tax deferrals.

Despite the tough conditions, Vista was able to sustain its investment in innovation, Riley said. 

"These enhancements and features, such as the Vista Cinema Re-opening Kit and Movio’s Research 2.0, support our customers globally with the capabilities to operate lean in a post-COVID world with operating protocols such as social distance seating, contact tracing, and contactless payment options," he said.

"Importantly, raising capital early has enabled us to understand and anticipate the likely operating environment of our customers post the pandemic and deliver their needs before they open.

“We believe Vista is in a stronger and more competitive position, with very strong customer relationships, a healthy balance sheet with good levels of cash, and a clear focus from the team on delivering innovation to our customers globally.

Before the pandemic struck, Vista Group was charting its way to a pure SaaS future in what it described last year as a "transformational investment".


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