NDS warns on next results

Smart card technology company NDS reported record results on Aug 5, in what might be the last public statement made by the company before it moves into privately-held hands. NDS is being acquired by a new business with 49% held by News Corp, and the rest by two companies advised by private equity specialists Permira Advisors.
NDS’ numbers were, by any measure, impressive. Record revenues for the year, record net income, record number of smart cards issued, record PVR/DVR units in use….. the list is a long one. Indeed, the cash (and equivalents) at hand at the end of June stood at $734m, compared to $592m a year ago, helping drive the firm’s current asset pile to more than $1bn.

CEO Dr Abe Peled reminded analysts of the major business wins achieved in the past six months, notably Korea’s SkyLife, Russia’s Sistema Mass Media, Cox Communications and business extensions at Foxtel, Africa’s Gateway and Sky TV New Zealand. However, his warning was blunt: “Unfortunately, as we look into fiscal 2009, the continuing strength of the Israeli shekel will make fiscal 2009 a very challenging year. We plan to invest in our business in order to continue to provide first rate technology and support to our customers in their current business, as well as to prepare for the challenges and opportunities presented by the rapid penetration of broadband and the changing viewing patterns it makes possible.”

NDS delivered 37.3m smart cards during the year (26.3m last year), and NDS’ Middleware is now in use on 92.5m boxes (up from 61.8m in 2007). 5.8m extra PVRs were deployed during the year (3.8m) taking the total now in use to 13.1m.