PAX Global Technology Limited (HKSE stock code: 00327.HK), one of the world’s leading providers of electronic payment terminal solutions and related services, has released its annual results for the year ended 31st December 2018.
PAX further expanded its global footprint in 2018, achieving remarkable success in international markets, with overall year-on-year revenue increasing by 23% to HK$ 4,415.4 million. Profit for the year was HK$ 515.4 million, representing an increase of 53.1% compared to 2017. Profit attributable to the owners of the Company increased by 28.2% to HK$ 522.5 million.The basic earnings per share was HK$ 47.5 cents (2017: HK$ 36.7 cents). The Board of Directors of the Company recommended to declare a final dividend of HK$ 0.04 per ordinary share.
PAX's innovative products continue to be recognized by customers worldwide, with Group turnover from international markets representing 84.5% of total revenue in 2018, up from 72.5% in 2017. Revenue from overseas markets increased significantly by 43.4% to HK$ 3,732.3 million (2017: HK$ 2,602.5 million), with particularly impressive growth coming from the Latin American and Asian regions. Sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa grew steadily by over 11%, now representing PAX’s second largest revenue region.
Shipments of PAX terminals reached a record high of over 10 million units, out of which approximately 6 million units were shipped internationally.
"As one of the world's leading providers of electronic payment terminal solutions, PAX achieved outstanding results in 2018, winning more market share than ever before and continuing to deliver on an innovative product roadmap. The ongoing global transition toward an increasingly cashless society, and the continuous payment industry security enhancements, have helped contribute to the Group’s excellent performance in international markets.” - Jack Lu, Chief Executive Officer of PAX
Europe, the Middle East and Africa
Across the entire EMEA region, PAX won even more market share in 2018, with an increasing number of acquiring banks and payment service providers now engaged in deploying PAX solutions.
In Europe, a decisive shift toward the adoption of innovative Android terminal solutions is underway, with PAX recording steady sales growth in key markets such as Italy, Germany, Poland and Eastern Europe. PAX obtained yet more country-specific approvals, such as the French Carte Bancaire 5.5 certification toward the end of the financial year, the Italian PagoBANCOMAT certification for Android, and Common.SECC approval for PAX products in the United Kingdom and Germany, thus laying an ever stronger foundation for the Group’s future growth across Europe.
In the Middle East and North Africa, PAX maintained its market leading position, with Egypt recording particularly large volume sales for a second consecutive year. PAX also continued to win new business with acquiring banks across the GCC region (Gulf Cooperation Council).
In sub-Saharan Africa, PAX continued its success in the continent’s Eastern and Southern African region, and explored new market opportunities in Western Africa, where the deployment of electronic payment terminal solutions is still relatively underdeveloped.
Latin America & Commonwealth of Independent States
In the LACIS region, the Group recorded revenue growth of over 50% for a second consecutive year.
In Brazil, the development of third-party payment acquiring continues to drive demand for PAX solutions from leading banks and payment service providers, some of which successfully launched IPOs in the United States during 2018, further strengthening PAX’s brand image. PAX also began deploying new generation Android smart terminals in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and other South American countries.
During the 2018 FIFA World Cup hosted in Russia, PAX solutions deployed in and around stadium locations, enabled thousands of fans with convenient cashless payments.
Across the APAC region, electronic payments markets are booming. As well as integrating the Group’s newly acquired Korean company, Kwang Woo Information & Communication Co. Ltd., PAX carried out further business expansion in the region,setting up local subsidiaries in Japan and India.
The Japanese payment market is expected to grow significantly in coming years, driven by the combination of the forthcoming 2019 Rugby World Cup, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, as well as an EMV migration process and increasing emphasis by the government toward a more cashless society.
In India, PAX recorded strong sales growth during 2018, driven by the government’s “Digital India” strategy, which brought PAX into further partnership with some of the mainstream acquiring banks and payment service providers.
United States of America and Canada
In the USCA region, PAX’s reputation as an alternative supplier of high quality innovative payment terminal solutions continues to be well received by processors, independent sales organizations (ISOs) and merchants.
With growing demand from chain store retailers for improved customer relationship management and data analytics systems, PAX increased its research and development (“R&D”) investments and launched more diversified electronic payment solutions and management platform products. PAX introduced the new generation E-Series, which has proven to be very popular with North American merchants, and has further strengthened partnerships with major payment providers that began rolling out the the Group’s A-series Android SmartPOS terminals.
In China, electronic payments continue to develop rapidly, especially with the introduction of alternative payment methods via smartphone and NFC which are greatly reshaping the Chinese payment landscape.
The People’s Bank of China implemented a series of policy reforms to promote the development of the payment industry, including the establishment of the NetsUnion Clearing Corporation to monitor third-party online payment transactions, and a requirement for payment institutions to achieve 100% of centralized deposit of pending client payments by mid-January 2019.
The second half of the year saw the escalation of international trade disputes, creating uncertainty in the Chinese economy which resulted in domestic companies facing unprecedented challenges. The Group will continue to closely monitor and evaluate the rapidly changing market environment, as well as the credit risk status of its customers.
PAX has now established a dedicated “China Business Unit”, with its own independent R&D, sales and marketing resources, to strategically respond to the rapidly evolving Chinese market.
Mergers & Acquisitions
With the aim of enhancing long-term shareholder value, and the diversity of the portfolio of payment-related products and services, PAX continues to proactively pursue various merger and acquisition investment opportunities.
In January 2019, the Group entered into a joint venture with CCV Group B.V. (“CCV”), one of Europe’s largest payment service and solution providers, focusing specifically on the development of unattended self-service terminals for public transportation, petroleum forecourts, parking, and ticketing & vending machines.
PAX also further increased its investment in a Beijing based fund, bringing it to RMB 85 million in 2018. Through this fund, PAX invests in emerging technology projects and start-ups which can help strengthen the Group’s competitive advantage in the financial technology sector in China, where there are significant business opportunities to be had.
"With market demand growing worldwide for a more diversified suite of in-store payment acceptance solutions, ones that integrate to customer relationship management and data analytics systems, PAX will continue to invest in enhancing the Android-based A-series and E-series family of products, so as to meet the specific needs of differentretail segments and business scenarios.We look forward to better serving our global network of partners and customers in 2019, creating greater value for our shareholders.” - Jack Lu, Chief Executive Officer of PAX, concluded.