31 August 2009

4RF on a $2.9m profit roll - technology | Stuff.co.nz

4RF on a $2.9m profit roll - technology | Stuff.co.nz

Hi-tech Wellington manufacturer 4RF has defied the global economic gloom and posted a $2.9 million profit for the year ending March.

The company, which makes microwave radio equipment for transmitting data wirelessly over long distances, boosted its revenues 24 per cent to $23.7m.

Chairman Peter Troughton says the economic conditions have made sales growth difficult.

"4RF has experienced instances of major project delays, particularly in the highly cyclical telco sector.

"That said, the company continues to be successful in winning new business, having signed up an average of four new end users per month in the fiscal year."

Most of these customers are in the utility and government sectors and should be relatively protected during the downturn, he says.

The company will trial a new product with large European customers towards the end of this financial year.

Chief executive Ian Troughton says that, as with any product, it will take a while to build sales.

"We don't think it will have any major impact on our results in the short term, but as a longer-term prospect we're really excited about it."

4RF has boosted its research and development and international sales teams and now has 75 staff, most of whom are in Wellington, he says.

"One good thing about the credit crunch is that there are quite a lot of good-quality people around. It's a good time to hire internationally."

The lingering downturn will make business challenging for the rest of the year and into 2010, he says.

4RF has customers in 111 countries and offices in North America, France, Britain, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Exports account for more than 90 per cent of its sales.

The firm won the global gold category for its export success at Wellington's Gold Awards this year.