Fast Search & Transfer ASA

Fast Search & Transfer Announces Record Second Quarter and Half Year 2005 Results

Oslo, Norway (ots/PRNewswire) - - Record Revenues of US$24.1m in Q2 and US$45.3m for Half Year, Both Yielding Growth of 70% - Record EBITDA of US$6.0m in Q2 and US$11.2m for Half Year, Both Reaching 25% of Revenues Fast Search & Transfer (FAST(TM)), the leading developer of enterprise search and real-time alerting technologies, today announced financial results for the second quarter and half year ended June 30, 2005 Highlights - Q2 2005 revenues of US$24.1m - grew 13% over last quarter and 70% year on year - Growth driven by widening adoption of the FAST Enterprise Search Platform (FAST ESP(TM)), Search Derivative Applications (SDAs), and OEM enterprise search solutions - Strong increase in sales from both new customers and expanding current relationships - Q2 operating income of US$4.4m and EBIT of US$4.2m - more than doubled year on year - Half year operating income and EBIT margins increased to 17.7% and 17.2%, respectively - EBITDA of US$6.0m in Q2 - grew 13% over last quarter and 56% year on year - Half year growth increased EBITDA to US$11.2m, improving the margin from 23% to 25% - Q2 operating cash flow of US$5.6m - quarter-end cash balances solid at US$80m - Operating cash flow for half year increased to US$12.4m, as cash received from customers more than doubled from US$22.3m to US$49.0m - Key wins in eBusiness, Knowledge Enablement and Application Enablement; spanning ecommerce, education, energy, financial services, government, internet search, media, publishing, retail, software development, and telecommunications - New enterprise clients include: ANZ Bank, AOL MapQuest, Coventry Management Services, Cybozu, DC-OCTO, Eni SpA, Financial Times, HBZ, HM Government Department (UK), Metro AG, Newsbank, Next Company, Nomura Securities, Research Council of Norway (Norges Forskningsråd), ProQuest, Reed Business, TeleListas, University Library Bielefeld, Zhaopin Ltd., among others - New reseller, OEM and alliance partners include Intellireach, Knowledge Works, and LegitiName, among others - Product developments included Taxonomy Explorer for FAST ESP; support for more than 100 new document formats; enhanced capabilities for mining new rich media for multimedia content - Key customer milestones achieved with adoption of new product lines and industry-leading features: sentiment analysis, enhanced relevancy capability, and the use of search for threat assessment Q2 and Half Year 2005 Financial Summary For the three months ending For the six months ending Amounts in 30-June-05 31-March-05 30-June-04 30-June-05 30-June-04 US$000's (unaudited) (unaudited) (unaudited) (unaudited) (unaudited) Revenue 24,070 21,266 14,137 45,336 26,662 EBITDA 5,962 5,278 3,834 11,240 6,126 EBIT 4,154 3,663 1,891 7,817 2,274 Net Income 3,143 2,734 1,432 5,877 1,806 Financial Performance Commenting on the Company's results, Dr. John M. Lervik, chief executive officer of FAST, said, "In Q2 we pushed the revenues above the US$24 million mark, outpacing all of our competitors by vigorous execution of our innovation, go-to-market, and client satisfaction strategies. I am delighted about the increasing importance of search in the market place. In particular, I am pleased that our current clients are expanding their relationships with FAST by utilizing our offerings in new strategic opportunities." Ali I. Riaz, chief operating officer and chief financial officer at FAST, remarked, "FAST signed on a record number of new customers during the quarter, and broadened a record number of existing relationships with follow-on sales." FAST's half year results showed top-line growth of 70%, with EBITDA growing by 83%, and the EBITDA-to-revenue margin pushing upward from 23% to 25%. Riaz added: "Strategically, our platform (FAST ESP) and search-derivative applications (SDAs) built on FAST ESP continue to deliver unprecedented value to our customers. Further, FAST is the safest bet in the market with its strong financial growth, debt-free balance sheet, high esteem amongst industry analysts, and leading-edge products proven by customer endorsements. Our top-rated consulting, hosting, and delivery services make FAST an ideal strategic technology partner. As a result, our customer loyalty is the best in the industry: 100% customer retention, 98% customer satisfaction. It's no accident that FAST enjoys the highest average deal size in the search business." New Customers FAST's new and expanded customer roster in Q2 spanned every continent and key business sector, including ecommerce, education, energy, financial services, government, media, publishing, retail, software development, and telecommunications. These new and extended customers demonstrate significant traction in all three of FAST's business sectors: eBusiness, Knowledge Enablement and Application Enablement. New or extended eBusiness customers for Q2 included Cybozu, Metro AG, Next Company and Nomura Securities and Reed Business, among others. The FAST eBusiness product suite offers a range of applications from simple site search to mission-critical advanced online solutions. FAST also made strong headway within the News and Media sector with the Financial Times, Newsbank, TeleListas and Zhaopin Ltd., among several others. In FAST's Knowledge Enablement sector, new and extended customers included AOL MapQuest, Eni SpA, Hochschulbibliothekszentrum NRW (HBZ), ProQuest, Research Council of Norway, and University Library Bielefeld. FAST achieved rapid traction with a key Knowledge Enablement SDA launched in Q1: FAST ProPublish(TM), the industry's first integrated enterprise search-based publication solution, complete with production management and delivery solutions. FAST ProPublish was purchased by a number of new customers, including Coventry Management Services, only weeks after its release. New Application Enablement (OEM) customers in Q2 included Intellireach and LegitiName who chose to partner with FAST to build their software solutions on top of FAST InStream(TM). Strategic Partnerships In other partnership developments, two industry-leading alliance partners strengthened their strategic relationships with the Company by adopting FAST technologies into their solution stacks. Three FAST OEM partners released new versions of their products enhanced by FAST InStream, carrying the Company into new, important and strategic markets: Orchestria, a leader in the compliance market with its Active Policy Management solution; CoreMedia AG in Content Management; and AskMe Corporation, the world's leading provider of Expertise Management solutions for the collaborative market. "Market leaders are choosing to rely on FAST as their search technology partner - clearly demonstrating their confidence in our company, and the strength of our technology platform for addressing a broad range of content and business applications," stated Riaz. Consultancy Services The FAST Search Best Practices(TM) (FAST SBP(TM)) consulting services introduced in Q1 2005 gained momentum during the quarter. Fifty-two workshops have now been delivered to customers around the globe. These tailored workshops are designed to help clients maximize their return on investment in search technology. The strength of FAST SBP lies in its applicability for both pre- and post-investment stages, from simple to highly advanced search environments. "FAST SBP delivers unique value to customers within a few days, providing a clear and complete view of the best way forward. SBP enables customers to get a fast, flying start in their application development with the confidence they are going to achieve the results they are seeking," commented Lervik. Customer Milestones A number of significant milestones were reached by our customers in Q2: Associated New Media went live with its vacation planning site, "This Is Travel" (http://www.thisistravel.co.uk), applying FAST's unique sentiment analysis capabilities to become the UK's first site to provide a broad, democratized review of hotels around the world. Akademos, one of the largest independent online sources for university textbooks, integrated FAST Data Search for eCommerce(TM) to deliver unprecedented service levels for customers and suppliers alike. Thanks to the scalability of FAST Data Search for eCommerce, Akademos will be increasing the number of records searched by its users from 4 million to 10 million, in sub-second response times. MIVA, Inc. (formerly the Findwhat.com Group), the world's largest independent Performance Marketing Network, launched its search solution utilizing FAST's tuned relevancy model to determine highest value content. Additionally, the District of Columbia worked with m2Dynamics, FAST's partner, to complete the first phase of its DC-OCTO initiative that integrates a complete analytical engine to monitor threat assessment for public safety. HEROLD Business Data, Austria's largest website for accessing contact data, deployed FAST AdVisor(TM) in its re-launch of HEROLD.at. Users of HEROLD.at can now access highly relevant, up-to-date directory information on more than 340,000 Austrian businesses and more than 4 million Austrian telephone numbers. FAST AdVisor gives HEROLD.at visitors sub-second response times and delivers an end-to-end user experience that general search sites can not match. FAST Innovation FAST's continuous investment and focus on R&D has in Q2 delivered a number of major improvements of the platform and search derivative applications. These product innovations have been driven by market trends and are already adopted by a number of customers: - Advanced technology for multimedia content, enabling contextual mining of new rich media such as video and audio, applied among others in FAST mSearch(TM), and adopted or piloted by a number of mobile and media customers. - Improvement of existing data models, with advanced XML handling throughout the platform, allowing discovery and exploitation of new content structures on the fly, and driving high-precision retrieval in any user context. This feature has been applied among others in the FAST InStream application, and already adopted by several major OEM customers. - Enhanced capability in location-based search, with advanced geo-coordinate capabilities, adopted by a number of Internet Yellow Page providers and AOL MapQuest. - Improved efficiency for database offloading, extending FAST's architecture and performance lead, already in use by a number of organizations requiring high-intensity retrieval and analytics for structured data sources. - A major enhancement of taxonomy management capabilities with the release of the Taxonomy Explorer(TM). - Improved combined retrieval of structured and unstructured data, delivering better performance and an unprecedented set of features for access to existing data silos. There has also been added support for 100 new content formats. As an example of innovation at work, in Q2 FAST mSearch took the leadership position for search technology in the 3G mobile marketplace. During this quarter, 3 Italy applied FAST mSearch to power third-generation mobile multimedia and communications services, driving the convergence of media, information and communications through new formats. 3 Italy uses FAST mSearch to deliver live video calls, multimedia content and entertainment. The visionary and industry-leading functionality of FAST mSearch is a proven success for mobile operators delivering narrowband 2G networks or next generation broadband mobile portals. These examples of technological improvement underscore FAST's clear technical leadership in the enterprise search space. FAST delivers unprecedented precision, efficiency and flexibility, end-to-end standards and wealth of data- and retrieval models. Corporate Developments FAST sees great upside potential in Europe by leveraging the success in other markets, such as the US and Japan. "The Company has expanded its marketing, selling and delivery capabilities to the European market and we expect this investment to quickly yield results in the coming quarters," said Riaz. Q3 2005 Business Focus "We are seeing strong validation in the market that search is a mission critical application within or outside the firewall. We have seen examples over and over of our customers using search technology to tackle challenges that in the past required costly, difficult-to-integrate technologies that consumed vast arrays of hardware or were simply too difficult to solve. We are excited to see our vision proven in the market place. We are confident that our technology will continue to shape the enterprise market and will be at the forefront of delivering value to our customer and partners." Lervik added. About FAST FAST creates the real-time search and filtering solutions that are behind the scenes at the world's best known companies with the most demanding search problems. FAST's flexible and scalable integrated technology platform elevates the search capabilities of enterprise customers and connects people to the relevant information they seek regardless of medium. This drives revenues and reduces total cost of ownership by effectively leveraging IT infrastructure. FAST's powerful enterprise search technology solutions are used by more than 1,500 global customers and partners, including America Online (AOL), AT&T, Cardinal Health, CareerBuilder.com, Chordiant, CIGNA, CNET, Dell, Factiva, Fidelity Investments, Findexa, FirstGov.gov (GSA), IBM, Knight Ridder, LexisNexis, Overture, Rakuten, Reed Elsevier, Reuters, Sensis, Stellent, Tenet Healthcare, Thomas Industrial Networks, T-Online, US Army, Virgilio (Telecom Italia), Vodafone, and Wanadoo. FAST is headquartered in Norway and is publicly traded under the ticker symbol 'FAST' on the Oslo Stock Exchange. The FAST Group operates globally with presence in Europe, the United States, Asia Pacific, Australia, South America, and the Middle East. For further information about FAST, please visit www.fastsearch.com. (c) 2005 Fast Search & Transfer ASA - Fast Search & Transfer, FAST, FAST ESP, FAST Data Search, FAST Marketrac, FAST AdVisor, FAST InStream, FAST ImPulse, FAST Search Best Practices, FAST SBP, FAST ProPublish, FAST mSearch and the FAST four-colored logo are trademarks of Fast Search & Transfer ASA. All rights reserved. FAST disclaims any proprietary interest in the marks and names of others. All other trademarks mentioned in this document are the property of their respective owners. http://hugin.info/134564/R/1004759/154601.pdf ots Originaltext: Fast Search & Transfer ASA Im Internet recherchierbar: http://www.presseportal.ch Contact: Media Relations Contact: Joe Rose, Tel: +1-781-304 2445, Joseph.Rose@fastsearch.com, Investor Relations Contacts: Ali Riaz, Tel: +1-508-904-7420, IR@fastsearch.com or Lin Hurlen Kvifte, Tel: +47-2301-1208

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