Jade Software eyes global dominance for Master Terminal in next growth phase

Jade managing director David Lindsay

Jade Software, which took its intelligence software developer Wynyard Group public last year, has grand designs for its Master Terminal business to become the world's top supplier of operating systems for mixed cargo ports.

The Christchurch-based software developer is ramping up its pitch for international customers for Master Terminal after some success in the Middle East and North America over the past two years. Chief executive David Lindsay says being able to handle mixed cargo rather than containers alone is a competitive advantage for Master Terminal's port management system.

"We view it as a quite substantial opportunity - it's not often you get that opportunity to take the number one position," Lindsay told BusinessDesk. "If we stopped growing, we're basically profitable, but we do want to drive and accelerate growth as much as possible."

In Jade's 2013 annual report, Lindsay touted plans for Master Terminal to evolve into a logistics company with new products on offer, after sales growth of 26 percent last year. Jade's group revenue gained 14 percent to $26.5 million, though the company didn't break down the individual units' performances.

Lindsay told BusinessDesk the mixed cargo ports have big greenfield opportunities, with about 40 percent of ports around the world still using paper-based systems.

"What we're seeing is higher growth in mixed cargo terminals - they've got growth in volumes, they've got different cargo types coming through, and they're struggling with a lot of pressure from shipping companies wanting turnaround more quickly," he said. "From our point of view, that's driving demand for our systems."

Jade's Master Terminal unit has gone from one US customer in 2012 to seven, and expects to add another three in the near future, with "that rate of growth continuing," Lindsay said.

The company is developing a new product which can be used by inland terminals, which Lindsay said will probably be ready for commercial release early next year. It also wants to expand its product range and working with customers to find what they want.

Lindsay said the growth phase for Master Terminal will be over the next three to five years, which will likely see it develop into a broader logistics company, and would probably been channel partners to help with global expansion.

The increased emphasis on Master Terminal comes after Jade's successful exit of Wynyard, which it carved out as a standalone business last year before the intelligence software developer's initial public offer in July.

About 64 percent of Wynyard was sold to the public at $1.15 a share, and the stock has since soared to $2.30. Jade investors also received a $14.9 million capital return this year via a share buyback after the company's board struggled to find any other compelling investment opportunities.

"If you really do put all your focus on one or two key parts of the business, you're able to increase growth exponentially," Lindsay said.

The other remaining leg to Jade, the digital and enterprise businesses, will be merged into one unit, which Lindsay says will let customers have a full suite of products available from purpose-built software through to mobile applications.

Jade is targeting financial services and utilities as sectors rife with growth opportunities, at a time when about three-quarters of firms' information technology budgets are being spent on building applications and driving customer engagement, Lindsay said.

"Unless you build something transactional that allows customers to do something, it doesn't provide a business benefit," he said.

(BusinessDesk)

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