Eckoh steers confidently through the coronavirus crisis


  • Develops secure payments technology
  • Offers customer service solutions
  • Most revenue is recurring
Online payment

What Eckoh does

Eckoh PLC (LON:ECK) provides secure payments and customer contact technology, specialising in card-not-present (CNP) transactions.

CNPs are payments usually made either over the phone, online, or through mobile devices without face-to-face contact or verification.

Eckoh also offers customer service solutions that allow client companies to manage their multi-channel customer communications more efficiently.

The firm’s products allow the client’s customers to self-serve (i.e. make enquiries, retrieve information, and make payments) through automated processes, which can help remove burdens from call centres and other advisors, which helps cut down on operational costs and reduce customer enquiry queue.

These products include systems like chatbots, which are loaded with pre-set responses to queries, as well as social media management that can track comments made about companies online across platforms like Facebook and Twitter.


How it's doing

In the year ended March 31, revenue increased 16% to £33.2mln, while pre-tax profit was reported at £3.3mln, up 171%.

The firm said it is "well-placed" to navigate the coronavirus crisis.

The US business had seen “little impact” from the worldwide switch to remote working, having been mostly operated in that fashion from the outset, and all its revenue is recurring. Instead, the UK has a mix of customers with that same model, though others have a blend between fixed and transactional fees.

However, the UK saw significantly higher-order levels in the second half of the year as several larger contracts renewed earlier than scheduled.

Around 80% of group revenue is recurring and it is expected to be cashed in.

The company's congestion charge contract with Capita has been extended while it announced a special dividend of 0.61p in lieu of a final payment. Net cash at the end of August was £12.2mln.

What the boss says: Nik Philpot, chief executive

"Eckoh's product portfolio can help organisations to respond positively to the challenging times ahead, so we can assist both new and existing clients to fulfil their fast-evolving requirements."

"The strength of Eckoh's performance, business model, market position and high recurring revenues, combined with our robust balance sheet and liquidity, means we are well placed to manage the impact of COVID-19, and we look forward to further progress in the year ahead."


What the broker thinks

Cannacord thinks Eckoh is well-placed to take a further share of the US secure payments solutions market for contact centres.

"Eckoh has so far won several 10's of customers, which implies that the US is a multi-year growth opportunity for the company," the broker said.

It expects a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in US secure payment revenue of 35% for fiscal years 2019 to 2022, putting Eckoh "on a path to double-digit group top-line growth in 2020 and high single digits beyond".

Coupled with an estimated margin rise of 150 basis points, the broker's new estimates imply a 26% CAGR in adjusted earnings (EBIT) for 2019-22. 

"Should management achieve its long-term goal of growing US revenues to the same level as its UK business by 2022, we see scope for earnings per share upgrades and long-term upside potential for the shares to 80p," Cannacord said.

Inflexion points

  • Higher order levels during coronavirus pandemic
  • Momentum builds as size of customers grows
  • Payments sector is consolidating with big deals


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