Picture: 123RF/Sarah Holmlund
Picture: 123RF/Sarah Holmlund

PBT Group said on Friday it was building a European business through a series of strategic partnerships, following its decision to exit its operations in the Middle East and Africa, bar SA.

The company, which calls itself a provider of “business intelligence solutions”, said it had already signed strategic partnerships with four companies in the Netherlands and two in Ireland. “Negotiations with a British company are in an advanced stage,” it added.

The partnerships would enable the group to be exposed to a combination of artificial intelligence, machine learning, data engineering, visualisation “and the relative cloud platforms”, PGT said in a statement.

In the six months to end-September, the group’s total revenue from continuing operations declined marginally to R281m. But total profit after tax from continuing operations was R7.2m, from a loss of R1.6m the year before. Operating costs increased, mainly due to large once-off expenditures relating to the expansion into Europe,  it said.

The group said reassigning consultants from its Middle East and Africa unit, while phasing out existing contractual obligations to clients in the region, “was challenging and required a fine balancing act and dedicated effort”.

“It was successfully achieved in the midst of a rather poor economic climate and a strong indication of change in data trends.

“The initiative to expand into the UK and Europe followed, providing the opportunity to research new data trends, whilst creating a new revenue stream.”

The group’s share price was unchanged at R1.25 on Friday.

Meanwhile, the group said it had “positioned itself well for the future” in SA.

“As a direct result of successful proof of concepts in Europe, projects have been secured on the three major cloud platforms, namely Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, whilst we are also at the forefront with regards to visualisation trends.”

The company's cognitive project with a major financial institution was “a stepping stone” to position itself as “the leading data and analytics company, not only in SA, but potentially in Europe as well”.