Craneware eyes boost from rising US health spending
Keith Neilson: huge opportunities
Craneware chief executive Keith Neilson sees huge opportunities for the Scottish billing software company from a rise in healthcare priorities in the US.
The expansion of its cloud platform to existing and new customers puts the Edinburgh company in a strong position for growth as US spending on health hits $4 trillion for the first time, accounting for 20% of GDP.
“That is huge and we can help with the administrative costs,” said Mr Neilson, speaking to Daily Business after the company reported a 3% rise in half year profit before tax to $9.9m.
“40 cents in the dollar is spent on [costs] so our software can help.”
Mr Neilson said the company continued to hire staff for its Edinburgh base in Canon Mills, as well as in Glasgow and in the US and now employs 400.
He admitted that hiring tech staff required broadening the geographic boundaries.
“I just do not think there are enough software developers in the world. We are fighting in a small pool of resource. It is an ongoing challenge.”
He said the past year had seen staff working remotely and visits to hospital clients reduce, but without any impact on performance and he expected the blended arrangement to continue.
He had previously made regular trips to the US but has not crossed the Atlantic since the pandemic broke this time last year. “We will not fly as much to the US. I am not sure we will need to.”
A lot travel time had been taken up attending conferences or visiting investors which had switched online and he said the company would see this continuing to some degree.
“Conferences were a big part of travel time and we have seen people adapt. Productivity is higher and in some cases we can actually speak to more people.”
Craneware reported a 6% rise in revenue to $38m (H1 2020: $35.9m) and declared a 4% rise in the interim dividend to 12p per share (H1 2020: 11.5p per share).
The company’s AIM-quoted shares were trading 1.91% lower at lunchtime at 2050p against a 52-week high of 2450p.
In his statement with the results, Mr Neilson said: “The positive performance in the first half of the year provides a strong foundation for future growth. We are making considerable progress on our Trisus expansion strategy and seeing accelerated adoption of this cloud-platform by our existing and new customers.
“Managing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly been the top priority for all healthcare-related organisations over the past year and will continue to be the case for many months to come, providing front-line care while adjusting to new methods of healthcare delivery and ensuring their financial operations can respond.
“Our customers continue to take steps to create further resilience across their financial operations and we are committed to providing them with the tools and insight to do so.
“The first half’s positive sales performance has continued with ongoing pipeline growth, a growing Trisus customer base, expanding offering and clear market need.
“While cognisant of the challenges presented by the macro environment, we are confident in the continued positive performance of the business and accelerated growth rates moving forward.”