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Appen (ASX:APX) - CEO, Mark Brayan - The Market Herald
CEO, Mark Brayan
Source: The Australian
  • Artificial intelligence developer Appen (APX) has reaffirmed its yearly financial guidance and expects only a negligible impact from the pandemic
  • Full-year results for 2019 reflect a strong period of growth for the company, including increased revenues, earnings and profits
  • Given the raft of companies globally that have been downgrading guidance, deferring dividends, raising capital and seeking debt facilities, Appen's continued profitability and expansion of its market footprint is impressive
  • With a cash balance in excess of $100 million, considerable undrawn debt facilities and low capital requirements, Appen looks fit to weather any storm
  • Appen is down a slight 0.4 per cent to $30.59 per share

In a somewhat rare occurrence these days, artificial intelligence developer Appen (APX) has reaffirmed its yearly financial guidance, saying it expects a negligible impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Strong financial performance

Full-year results for 2019 reflect a strong period of growth for the company.

Compared to 2018, revenue grew to $536 million, an increase of 47 per cent.

Underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were $101 million, a 42 per cent gain. The company is currently projecting a figure around $125 million to $130 million for 2020 — another strong performance in a much trickier global climate.

Underlying net profit after tax (NPAT) also saw a big jump, with a 32 per cent rise to $64.7 million.

Appen also paid out its dividends for the year, with a final dividend of five cents adding to the interim payment of four cents, for a total 2019 dividend of nine cents per share. Not bad, given the current global climate and economic forecasts.

While the company is anticipating some impact to its smaller clients from the downturn, overall its strategy and position seems resilient so far.

Outlook

Remarkably, Appen has reaffirmed its guidance for the current year and seems entirely confident its growth and earnings will continue as projected.

Given the raft of companies globally that have been downgrading guidance, deferring dividends, raising capital and seeking debt facilities, Appen's continued profitability and expansion of its market footprint is impressive.

With a cash balance in excess of $100 million, considerable undrawn debt facilities and low capital requirements, it seems Appen is fit to weather any storm.

All in all, Appen seems well set to continue on its merry way as it continues to expand and profit on the world stage.

Appen is down a slight 0.4 per cent to $30.59 per share as at 12:20 pm AEST.


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