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Knowing Audience Analytics Limited (SGX: 1AZ), The Company Behind SME Magazine, SME 100 Award & HR Asia Best Companies to Work for in Asia Award

The company sits on a database of over 500,000 engaged business owners and decision-makers.

For those of us working in the corporate world, we may be familiar with events like the SME100 Awards and HR Asia Best Companies To Work For In Asia or business publications like SME Magazine or HR Asia. What you may be less familiar with is the company behind these publications and business awards – Audience Analytics Limited (SGX: 1AZ)

Started in 2002, Audience Analytics Limited was listed on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) in September 2021 with an estimated market capitalisation of $50.5 million. Currently, the company has significant presence in 15 markets across Asia including Singapore, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, UAE and Vietnam.

Source: Annual Report 2021, Audience Analytics Limited

Describe Audience Analytics’ recent financial performance

Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, adjusted FY2021 net profit has doubled from S$2.3 million in FY2019 to S$4.6 million (after adjusting for one-off IPO expenses). This is driven mainly by a 29% increase in revenue from Business Impact Assessment & Recognition (award programme) segment and an expansion in gross margins from 43.8% in FY2019 to 66.0% in FY2021, as the Group held more award programmes and saw an increase in the number of participants for its award programmes.

Audience Analytics’ revenue and gross profit increased significantly in 1H2022, what is the management’s guidance for 2023?

While the first half of the year tends to be seasonally weaker for the Group, our strong growth momentum continued in 1H2022 with revenue more than double that of 1H2021. This contributed to a turnaround 1H2022 net profit of S$0.06m reversing the loss a year ago. Historically (for FY2020 to FY2021), more than 80% of the Group’s full-year revenue were contributed by the second half of the year. With the positive momentum we saw in 1H2022, we are cautiously optimistic of our 2H2022 results which will be released around the end of Feb 2023.

The Group’s profitability is mainly dependent on the number of award programmes we hold, as well as the number of participants. The number of award programmes held over the years has been increasing as we expand into more markets. On average, we have seen a 10-20% increase in the number of participants for our award programmes over the last 3 years. This is in addition to the continued profitability of our exhibitions and business media segments.

Having a “moat” or a competitive advantage is something many investors look for in companies they invest in. Can you share how Audience Analytics has a strong advantage?

While we have competitors in every segment and across all products, very few, if any competitor competes with us across our entire portfolio. We have been hard-pressed to find a direct comparable listed entity for this reason. That in our mind, is one of our strengths – that we have complementary and comprehensive products targeting various audiences.

Equally important is the scale that we operate at. For example, while the barriers to entry to organize a new award program may be low, it takes a long time to establish the track record that we have nurtured for our flagship award programs, especially on a regional scale. Some of the Group’s awards such as SME 100 and HR Asia Best Companies to Work for in Asia have been in the market since 2009 and 2013 respectively and are in 5 and 15 markets respectively.

The brand recognition and established track record of our award programs on a regional basis is an economic moat of the Group, and one of the key reasons why we are consistently able to grow the number of programs and participants for our programs every year.

Sustainability and ESG have increasingly been a key focus, how is Audience Analytics working towards achieving your sustainability goals and ambitions?

The Board of AAL is committed to delivering long-term value for our stakeholders and minimising our environmental footprint. As part of our sustainability policy, we are committed to implementing greener strategies to reduce our carbon footprint. For example, we reward our employees with monetary incentives if they opt for transportation options that save on carbon emissions for their daily commute to and from work (e.g. walking, biking, carpooling, or taking public transport).

Where possible, we also select and work with venue partners that have a sustainability policy in place. We actively direct our clients towards sustainable event management practices by offering them eco-friendly, digital alternatives to standard hard-copy event collaterals.

What is one lesser-known business area of Audience Analytics that you wish more people/investors know about?

 We sit on a database of over 500,000 engaged business owners and decision makers; accumulated and nurtured over the past 20 years. Many of these businesses have grown with us, across markets and across business lifecycles. This represents a significant opportunity for us to tap into with the right products and services.  We are excited with the runway this would mean, both for our existing brands and new ones that are in our pipeline.

Editor’s Note: Some answers for this article were extracted from the SGX 10 in 10 series published on 10 January 2023 and have been republished with permission. You can read more on Audience Analytics Limited on the SGX website.

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