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28 November 2000

Vocalis Group plc Unaudited Interim results for the six months to 30 September 2000

Vocalis Group plc ("Vocalis"), the international speech technology group, announces today its unaudited interim results for the six months to 30 September 2000.

Key points:

  • Launch of new Call Centre products
  • New commercial opportunities for SpeechWare, including hardware solution
  • Continued success with ISP relationships for SpeechMail on an international basis
  • Sales increased by 52% to £2.0m (1999: £1.3m)
  • Loss before tax was £2.5m (1999: loss of £1.9m)
  • Loss per share was 5.6 pence (1999: loss of 4.84 pence)
  • Cash balances at the end of the period were £6.5m

Roy Cotterill, Chairman, commented:

"This is an exciting time to be in speech recognition. Underlying our business strategy is the firm belief that voice is, and will increasingly be, the most natural way to interact with many internet and telephone-based services and that the global market for speech recognition will experience rapid growth."

Progress in the period

In the half year to 30 September 2000, sales were £2,008,000, a 52% increase compared to the same period last year (1999: £1,318,000).The operating loss was £2,576,000 (1999: loss £2,137,000) and the loss before tax was £2,478,000 (1999: loss £1,963,000).The loss per share was 5.6 pence (1999: loss 4.84 pence). Cash balances at the end of the period were £6,471,000. On 25 August 2000, the Company raised approximately £5.0 million (net), by way of a cash placing in order to help fund the Group's continued development.

In the first half of the financial year we completed the repositioning of the business to address two key markets - Speech Telephony and Internet Services. The Company is making significant progress in both areas, and is positioned to take advantage of the growth of these markets to achieve our long term targets.

Speech Telephony Products

Our core speech recognition technology, SpeechWare, is now established in the UK marketplace. In the summer we launched our branded hardware solution, VRooM, and we continue to develop SpeechWare to meet increasing market demand for high-density speech recognition. Our latest developments include two high-density versions of VRooM. These will provide hardware solutions that are less than one-tenth the physical size of equivalent solutions, thereby giving us a competitive advantage in this market. At the lower-density end of the market, SpeechWare has been integrated into a range of next-generation telephony interface cards to offer advanced technology for smaller installations.

Since the period end, we have announced the integration of our speech recognition technology with Dialogic's CT MediaTM 2.0, a software tool for developing standards-based telecommunications solutions. This gives us access to a wider market by allowing third party developers to use SpeechWare's sophisticated speech recognition quickly and easily.

The speaker verification research project, run in conjunction with Nationwide, has been successfully completed. As a result of the trial we are now investigating commercial applications with a number of potential corporate customers.

A key part of our strategy over the past six months has been to develop a portfolio of SpeechWare products that specifically address the call centre market. Call centres are relevant to many industry sectors, and we have targeted this growing area because we believe Vocalis is uniquely placed to provide innovative solutions tailored to specific requirements.

Drawing on our major strengths - SpeechWare's proven accuracy and our understanding of both natural language and natural dialogue interaction -we have developed the Intelligent Query engine (IQe), for which we have a patent pending. IQe shortens time to market by simplifying those operations that application developers have found most difficult and time consuming in the development of call centre solutions. IQe also provides a suite of applications for the call centre, which reduce the time an agent spends with callers, offering the potential for huge productivity increases and cost savings.

The first application using IQe, the Postcoder, was launched in September 2000 and has already generated widespread interest. IQe Postcoder can be integrated into virtually any customer support application that needs to establish a caller's location. In developing IQe Postcoder we have formed partnerships with a number of leading address management solution vendors, including QAS, Hopewiser and AFD.

Internet Services

In the UK we have continued our expansion in the growing Internet Services market. We have extended our existing ISP base and launched our 'email by phone 'service, SpeechMail, into the corporate sector, adding a number of new features - such as automatic login, and short message service (SMS) notification of email arrival - specifically designed for business users. This, again, increases the number of potential SpeechMail users.

In the United States, where the Internet Services were launched in May, we have secured several important agreements that increase our ch7annels to market. These include partnerships with a number of high profile ISPs, including, Quik Internet and Clear Connections, and the American Alliance of Service Providers. We have also formed an alliance with Novell Inc, the leading provider of net services software, which has resulted in a pilot scheme of SpeechMail for corporate users of Novell GroupWise®.

Through our trade investment in Complex-IT, a South African IT services provider, we have launched the SpeechMail service in South Africa. The country's leading ISP, World Online, is offering SpeechMail to its customers through several of its brands. As a result of these activities, SpeechMail now has hundreds of thousands of registered users.

Looking to the Future

In the Speech Telephony Products sector we will continue to focus on call centre solutions, developing natural dialogues that the caller finds comfortable to use. In addition to further Iarge applications, we will shortly be launching Vocal Items, an important new SpeechWare tool that will allow developers to create 'mixed initiative dialogues' - dialogues which identify relevant information and ask for anything the caller has forgotten to say, much like a human operator. These and other developments are generating a high level of interest in all versions of SpeechWare.

In the Internet Services sector we will continue to develop 'mobile internet' solutions, our goal being the creation of a universal infrastructure for voice access to the internet. We will extend SpeechMail to provide full unified messaging and personal assistant capabilities. With SpeecHTML we will concentrate on the development of voice portals, a technology that allows the caller to access a range of services by dialling a single telephone number and selecting a service by voice. We will also pursue the opportunities with SpeecHTML for basic interactive voice responses (IVR) and information services.

Overall, we will be selling our core products and expertise through further partnerships, thereby providing routes to market through which we can expand rapidly.


This is an exciting time to be in speech recognition. Underlying our business strategy is the firm belief that voice is, and will increasingly be, the most natural way to interact with many internet and telephone-based services and that the global market for speech recognition will experience rapid growth.

The contingencies associated with an emerging market - speed of market acceptance for new technologies, the need for the leaders in the field to push the market, and the timing of market takeoff - still remain. However, with the present corporate structure - our leading edge technology, high calibre staff and market presence - we are positioned to maximise the opportunities in this market. We therefore continue to view the future with confidence.

Roy Cotterill
28th November 2000

for the six months to 30 September 2000

  Notes Unaudited
6 months to
6 months to
12 months to
Turnover   2,008   1,318   2,694
Cost of Sales   (560)   (651)   (913)

Gross Profit   1,448   667   1,781
Other operating expenses (net)   (4,024)   (2,804)   (6,632)

Operating Loss   (2,576)   (2,137)   (4,851)
Bank interest receivable   106   187   377
Interest payable  
- Finance leases   (4)   (10)   (18)
- Other loans   (4)   (3)   (15)

Loss on ordinary activities before taxation   (2,478)   (1,963)   (4,507)
Tax on loss on ordinary activities   -   -   40

Loss on ordinary activities after taxation   (2,478)   (1,963)   (4,467)

Loss per share - pence 2 (5.60)   (4.84)   (10.57)

The accompanying notes form an integral part of this consolidated financial information.

for the six months to 30 September 2000

6 months to
6 months to
12 months to
Loss for the period   (2,478)   (1,963)   (4,467)
Loss on foreign currency translation   (66)   (1)   (7)

Total recognised losses for the period   (2,544)   (1,964)   (4,474)

The accompanying notes form an integral part of this consolidated financial information.

as at 30 September 2000

as at
as at
as at
Fixed assets  
Intangible assets   45   66   76
Tangible assets   1,769   1,531   2,051
Investments   200   -   -

    2,014   1,597   2,127

Current assets  
Stock   1,154   388   803
- due within one year   1,062   718   1,688
- due after one year   200   -   -
Short term cash deposits   6,250   8,000   4,500
Cash at bank and in hand   221   1,140   278

    8,887   10,246   7,269

Creditors:amounts falling due within one year   (1,466)   (2,443)   (2,351)

Net current assets   7,421   7,803   4,918

Total assets less current liabilities   9,435   9,400   7,045

Creditors: amounts falling due after more than one year   (61)   (188)   (111)
Net assets   9,374   9,212   6,934

Capital and reserves  
Called up share capital   2,315   2,193   2,199
Share premium account   17,324   12,432   12,452
Other reserves   1,070   1,070   1,070
Profit and loss account   (11,335)   (6,483)   (8,787)

Shareholders' funds - equity interests   9,374   9,212   6,934

The accompanying notes form an integral part of this consolidated financial information  

for the six months to 30 September 2000

    Unaudited 6 months to 30.09.00
Unaudited 6 months to 30.09.99
Audited 12 months to 31.03.00
Operating loss   (2,576)   (2,137)   (4,851)
Depreciation charge   338   223   506
Increase in stock   (225)   (45)   (426)
Decrease/(increase) in debtors   241   442   (630)
(Decrease)/increase in creditors   (876)   (154)   134
Exchange difference   (70)   -   (7)
Long term Incentive Plan charge   -   -   207

Net cash outflow from operating activities   (3,168)   (1,671)   (5,067)
Returns on investments and servicing of finance  
- interest received   91   118   377
- interest paid   -   (4)   (15)
- interest element of finance leases   (8)   (10)   (18)
Capital expenditure and financial investment  
- purchase of tangible fixed assets   (152)   (726)   (1,857)
- purchase of intangible fixed assets   -   -   (34)

Cash outflow before management of liquid resources and financing   (3,237)   (2,293)   (6,614)

Management of liquid resources  
Increase in short term deposit   (1,750)   (5,900)   (2,400)

Issue of ordinary shares (net of fees)   4,988   8,762   8,788
Repayment of secured loan   -   (2)   (5)
Capital element of finance lease repayments   (58)   (31)   (95)

Net cash inflow from financing   4,930   8,729   8,688

(Decrease)/increase in cash in the period   (57)   536   (326)

The accompanying notes form an integral part of this consolidated financial information.


1.   Basis of preparation

The foregoing financial information does not constitute statutory accounts within the meaning of section 240 of the Companies Act 1985.

The financial information for the six months ended 30 September 2000 is unaudited and has been prepared in accordance with the accounting policies set out in the Annual Report for the year ended 31 March 2000. The financial information for the six months ended 30 September 1999 is also unaudited.

The financial information for the full preceding year is based on the statutory accounts for the financial year ended 31 March 2000. Those accounts, upon which the auditors issued an unqualified opinion, have been delivered to the Registrar of Companies.

2.   Loss per share

Loss per share is based on the loss for the period after tax divided by the weighted average number of equity shares ranking for dividend in the period. The weighted average number of shares was 44,285,546 (1999:40,553,628).

3.   Circulation to shareholders

A copy of this report will be circulated to shareholders and copies will be available on application to the company's registered office up to 30 June 2001.

These accounts were approved by the Board of Directors on 22 November 2000 and were signed on its behalf by:



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About Vocalis

Vocalis works with organisations to create contact centre solutions that build the organisations business and brands. These solutions can turn your contact centre from a cost to a profit centre by ensuring it builds your brand, helps your business be more competitive, and increases customer loyalty through more effective and efficient service. Vocalis was formed in 1993, is publicly traded on FTSE Stock Market and has been listed since July 1996. Vocalis brings back the reassurance of the most personal human touch in business - putting voice to work.

The Vocalis Website is at

Email: [email protected]

For further Vocalis Group information, contact:

Philippa Buttle
Vocalis Group plc
Chaston House
Mill Court
Gt Shelford
Tel: 01223-846177
Fax: 01223-846178
Email:[email protected]

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