Data monitoring company Vianet expects to post pre-exceptional operating profits of £3m for the full year after making good progress across its fuel and vending divisions.
The Stockton-based firm said trading for the second half of the year is expected to be broadly in line with expectations, and recurring income and prospects for the year ahead have given the Board confidence in maintaining the proposed final dividend at 4p.
The business, which provides real-time monitoring systems and data management services for the leisure, vending, and forecourt services sectors, said trading remains challenging for the group’s core beer flow monitoring operations amid the Government’s proposed statutory code for pub companies.
The Government launched a consultation in April – Pub Companies and Tenants – a section of which suggests flow monitoring equipment may not be used to determine whether a tenant “is complying with purchasing obligations, or as evidence in enforcing such obligations”.
Vianet sent a strong response to the consultation which had received a favourable response, but an outcome has yet to be made – and the delay means firms have been holding back on making capital investment while a cloud hangs over the issue.
The Board of Vianet said it remains hopeful of a satisfactory outcome but that it “continues to exercise caution as the timing and content of such an announcement remain unclear”.
The company said good progress has been made in its vending division, which has seen growth in profits in the second half of the year.
In a statement to its shareholders on the London Stock Exchange the firm said it believes the prospects for this business remain excellent, particularly with telemetry solutions for the coffee vending market.
Existing orders in the vending market segment are being installed successfully and ahead of plan, and the firm remains positive it will secure a significant new business win in the first half of 2014/5.
The group’s fuel solutions division has also made good progress during the period, benefitting from a reduced cost base and higher margin activity, achieving reduced losses compared with the same period last year so it is now trading profitably.
Chairman James Dickson added: “Whilst trading in the pub sector has been challenging, the business has made good progress and prospects, particularly for telemetry solutions for the coffee vending market, are encouraging.
“The benefits of the actions taken to reduce costs are being realised and further cost reduction initiatives are being implemented. The Board is pleased to maintain the final dividend.”