E-Cash processor publishes Q4

NEOVIA Financial plc (the e-cash processor formerly known as Neteller) has released its trading update for the fourth quarter and year ended 31 December 2008. In addition to the financials, the statement includes a notification that CEO Ron Martin is leaving "for family reasons" after four years at the helm.

Noting once again that the marketplace is "challenging", management reveals that revenue for the fourth quarter should be around US$ 21.3 million, an increase of 31 percent from Q4 2007 revenue of US$ 16.2 million, and compared to US$ 19.1 million for the third quarter of 2008.

Fee income, which excludes interest, increased by 43 percent over Q4 2007 to US$ 19.8 million. Interest income, as expected, decreased from US$ 2.4 million in Q4 07 to US$ 1.5 million in Q4 08, a drop of 38 percent.

Despite the current economic downturn, Neovia recorded a slight increase in active e-wallet users in the fourth quarter, up to 97 673 from 97 448 in the previous quarter, and is currently engaged in stimulating further active e-wallet user growth in 2009 and in diversification into new market sectors.

The Board expects that Neovia's operating profit for the full year 2008 will be in line with market expectations. However, results for the full year will be impacted by a number of non-recurring items, including approximately US$ 1.1 million in restructuring expenses pertaining to the cessation of the North American-facing business in Q1 2007, and a non-cash expense relating to impairment of the goodwill and intangible assets arising on the acquisition of Netbanx Limited in 2005.

Goodwill and intangible assets amounting to US$ 14.5 million may be subject to part or full impairment. The group also recorded tax recoveries of US$ 2.1 million in Q4 2008 in relation to favourable assessments of prior periods.

During the second half of 2008, Neovia implemented several initiatives to enhance its position in the online payments space, including the launch of the Net+ prepaid MasterCard products, the enhanced Neovia payment network, and the roll out of further currencies, countries and payment options for e-wallet users and merchant customers. Neovia has also continued to invest in its business, in line with its strategic objectives, with further progress achieved on the “NewTeller” platform development project, which is currently scheduled for deployment in Q3 2009.

The future benefits of "NewTeller" will include cost savings and greater operating efficiencies within the group. The group continues to focus on further reduction of its cost base through additional restructuring and 'geographical optimisation' of cost centres.

As at 31 December 2008, total Neovia cash was approximately US$ 82.3 million. The working capital position of the group, defined as current assets less current liabilities, is approximately US$ 68 million. Required cash inventory comprising amounts held at processors, operating account balances to cover payouts and the buffer on trust accounts is approximately US$ 30.0 million, resulting in available “free cash” of about US$ 38.0 million. A substantial portion of this available cash is earmarked for capital expenditures in 2009 (including the completion of the “NewTeller” platform) and for the IDT acquisition referred to below.

The proposed acquisition of IDT Financial Services Holdings Limited, which was announced on 1 December 2008, remains subject to obtaining the consent of the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission and a further update will be made in due course.

Following four years in executive roles with the company, Ron Martin, President & CEO, is leaving for family reasons. Martin has agreed to remain with the company during a transition period to facilitate the orderly engagement of a replacement CEO, and an executive recruitment process has begun.

Neovia expects to release its preliminary announcement of the 2008 audited full year results on or around April 23, 2009.

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