February 25, 2008 // Franchising.com // Bartercard Australia has celebrated its 17th birthday and last year's management buy out (MBO) with a 52 per cent jump in profit for the six months to December 2007 compared with the same period in 2006.
Bartercard Managing Director Officer Trevor Dietz expects an even stronger second half year as Australia's economy slows in a tightening global economic environment.
"This is a time where Bartercard does best and can help small and medium businesses retain their cashflow like no other business tool," Mr Dietz said.
"We can work to protect and cushion small business owners who are members from the fall off in business activity and the increasing cost of money," he said.
Announcing the December half year results today, Mr Dietz said the surge in EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) to $1.73 million was the result of a cost efficiency and expense reduction drive introduced across the business earlier in the year.
"This is a great result for Bartercard Australia that certainly cements the business' place as the jewel in the global Bartercard International organisation crown," Mr Dietz said.
"While it reflects just five months of ownership by the Australian management team, the profit growth indicates that the business is robust and still performing strongly 17 years after it was launched on the Gold Coast.
"I believe that with the new ownership team focused firmly on the Australian business, we will see even stronger growth in the years ahead."
Mr Dietz said there had been a slight decrease in the trade volume in the six months to December, for a total of $253 million Trade Dollars. Despite this, the cost efficiency and expense cutting drive had enabled the strong profit growth.
However, he believes that 2008 will be a "watershed year" for Bartercard Australia with stronger profit growth, higher trade volumes and a range of business initiatives within its own operations and for its members.
"Bartercard is re-inventing itself with a huge investment in recruiting new staff and a renewed commitment to staff training and customer service," Mr Dietz said. "In addition to the investment in people, we will shortly be announcing a whole new range of business initiatives that will give members even more opportunity to gain substantial cash savings."
From its initial beginnings in 1991 as a bold innovation for small-to-medium businesses, Bartercard has become a global business with 103 offices (most of which are franchises) in 12 countries, with annual trade volume globally of $1.3 billion in cashless transactions. There are now 48 Bartercard offices across Australia (44 of which are franchises) and Bartercard Australia has more than 20,000 members – a number which will continue to grow as more business operators come to understand the potential that barter trade offers.
Mr Dietz also announced the appointment of Mr Phil Gibson, General Manager of Bartercard International Pty Ltd, to the Board of Bartercard Australia. Mr Gibson becomes Bartercard International's representative on the Board, replacing Mr Andrew Federowsky.
"Phil began with Bartercard Australia in 2000, and has undertaken many different tasks both here and with Bartercard International in the UK, establishing great understanding of all facets of the business," Mr Dietz said.
"He joined the Bartercard International management team in 2007 and now has been appointed a Director of Bartercard Australia – a role in which I am certain he will make an even greater contribution."