Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

JSE-listed technology group Ansys, which has rebranded itself as Etion, is considering setting up offices in Australasia and western Europe as part of its efforts to grow international revenues.

CEO Teddy Daka said that the group wanted to reduce its presence in the South African market, which slowed materially in Etion’s financial year to March.

Weaker business confidence resulted in a slowdown in SA’s fibre-network roll-out, particularly in the second half of its year, and this contributed to a 29% fall in Etion’s revenues to R573m as net profit halved to R33m, the group said on Wednesday. Etion provides passive connectivity infrastructure to network operators.

Daka said Etion, which recently bought information technology developer and cybersecurity firm LawTrust for R109m, wanted to establish sales offices in new markets to sell its cybersecurity and other products.

"Australasia is one area we are looking at. We already have a presence in the Middle East, and we’re also thinking of setting up a presence in western Europe, we just haven’t decided where," he said.

Safety technology

Meanwhile, Daka said Etion saw opportunities to provide more safety technology to the mining industry, because "the need for safety is growing". "We’re seeing that market opening up for our business."

Another fatality was reported at a Sibanye-Stillwater mine on Tuesday, bringing the death toll for the company to 21 since February. Parliament’s mineral resources committee chairman, Sahlulele Luzipo, said it was "high time [Sibanye-Stillwater] is placed under curatorship", also suggesting that the miner’s operating licence should be withdrawn.

Etion sells rope-monitoring systems to mining clients and sells gas-detection and anti- collision systems for vehicles to the industry through distribution partners. "We’re currently looking at how we can help mines monitor rock formations from seismic movements. It’s something we’re looking into with partners, but we’re not there yet," Daka said.

The parties were working on a proof of concept. Daka said these products were not sector specific and could be sold to other industries.

"Any industry that relies on technology to improve their safety and productivity is a market for us," he said.

The CEO said the rebranded group would be "aggressive in growing our business" and would look for synergies and cross-selling opportunities between the divisions.

"We will be focusing on leveraging our integrated capability to better provide solutions to existing [customers and industries], as well as on exploring opportunities in new segments and sectors.

"We will also be progressing opportunities in the [Southern Africa] region and the rest of Africa, where the digital revolution is set to take hold and where we have the opportunity to secure a ‘first to market’ position," Daka said.

He said there were "green shoots" emerging in the South African economy, though the recovery was likely to be slow.

Etion expected higher demand in all four of its business units: original design and manufacturing, safety and productivity, digital network solutions and cybersecurity.

hedleyn@businesslive.co.za