Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Niche digital technology company Ansys plans to make cybersecurity the next pillar of its business with the acquisition of security developer LAWtrust.

It is understood that Ansys, which has a market cap of just R387m, fought off bigger rivals like EOH and BCX to buy LAWtrust, for which it will pay R88.4m in cash and R20.1m in new Ansys shares.

Releasing interim results to the end of September, CEO Teddy Daka said Ansys started tinkering with cybersecurity products about two years ago.

"We said, ‘hang on, cyber is growing big and I want this to be a business, I don’t want it to just be a few products. We’re making money out of this but I think we can go to a higher level if we find a company that does similar things’ ... and that’s where LAWtrust comes in."

LAWtrust works on encryption on South African identity documents, among others.

Ansys is ungeared, but the six months under review ate up more than R118m in working capital, pushing its cash balance more than R33m lower.

Daka said the company was not burning through cash.

"It’s a timing issue: we had some debtors ... who’ve subsequently paid. The other one is SARS: they’re sitting on R12m of our money. Otherwise we’re actually fine," he said.

A slowdown in its rail business, as well as a drop in orders for its defence systems, contributed to a 23.1% slide in sales for the period, to R314.2m.

talevig@tisoblackstar.co.za

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