http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk Proactiveinvestors RSS feed en Fri, 20 Oct 2017 06:14:36 +0100 http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Genera CMS action@proactiveinvestors.com (Proactiveinvestors) action@proactiveinvestors.com (Proactiveinvestors) <![CDATA[Media files - Minds + Machines building TLDs for the long-term as they launch four more in China ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/8233/minds-machines-building-tlds-for-the-long-term-as-they-launch-four-more-in-china-8233.html Thu, 12 Oct 2017 15:46:00 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/8233/minds-machines-building-tlds-for-the-long-term-as-they-launch-four-more-in-china-8233.html <![CDATA[News - Minds + Machines receives approval to launch four more top level domains in China ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/185480/minds-machines-receives-approval-to-launch-four-more-top-level-domains-in-china-185480.html Having successfully launched its .vip top level domain (TLD) in China, Minds + Machines Group Limited (LON:MMX) is on its way to unleashing four more.

The TLDs .law, .work, .beer and .shopping have been granted approval by the Chinese regulator, MIIT, for use in China. Another four of MMX’s TLDs are currently going through the regulatory process.

WATCH: Minds + Machines on track for maiden year of profitability

The company will announce the release schedule on the newly approved top-level domains for the Chinese market in due course.

"We are greatly honoured to be the first western registry to receive a second round of approvals from MIIT.  China accounts for over half of global registrations in new gTLDs and from a revenue perspective it is important for the company to have a dominant position in this market," chief executive, Toby Hall, said at “The Computing Conference” in Hangzhou yesterday.

READ: Minds + Machines' .vip .getting a grip in China

Meanwhile, the company said the launch of the .boston TLD is progressing and the domain entered “general availability” – TLDs are initially restricted to trademark holders before becoming generally available – on 10 October, with more than 2,000 registrations made in the first six hours, generating roughly US$100,000 of billings. 

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Thu, 12 Oct 2017 07:39:00 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/185480/minds-machines-receives-approval-to-launch-four-more-top-level-domains-in-china-185480.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - China and .boston updates ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20171012070002_13394037/ Thu, 12 Oct 2017 07:00:02 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20171012070002_13394037/ <![CDATA[Media files - Minds + Machines on track for maiden year of profitability ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/8142/minds-machines-on-track-for-maiden-year-of-profitability-8142.html Tue, 26 Sep 2017 12:16:00 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/8142/minds-machines-on-track-for-maiden-year-of-profitability-8142.html <![CDATA[News - Minds + Machines confident of delivering maiden operating profit this year ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/184571/minds-machines-confident-of-delivering-maiden-operating-profit-this-year-184571.html Top level internet domains specialist Minds + Machines Group Limited (LON:MMX) is on course to deliver its maiden year of profitability as an operating business.

The first half of the year saw renewal billings nearly triple to US$3.1mln and renewal revenue more than double to the point where it accounted for 45% of revenue, compared to just 15% in the first half of 2016.

WATCH: Minds + Machines on track for maiden year of profitability

Importantly, renewal billings are now higher than fixed operating expenditure, which totalled US$2.6mln in the first half of the year as the group continued its focus on containing costs.

Move to hold back key 2017 inventory releases

Minds + Machines (MMX) has always been a company with results weighted to the second half, and that will be the case more than usual this year, owing to a decision to hold back key 2017 inventory releases (i.e. new top level domains, or TLDs) until the second half of the year.

Reflecting the decision to hold back new releases, billings eased to US$5.61mln from US$8.05mln the year before.

The group said sales of roughly US$6mln have been achieved so far in the third quarter, which means year-to-date sales are now roughly on a par with 2016.

The fourth quarter is the period when the core US and European renewal revenues occur, so management is confident that it will hit its full-year targets.

READ: Minds + Machines' .vip .getting a grip in China

Domains under management increased 34% from 31 December 2016 to 1.1 mln registrations at 30 June 2017.

Seven domains in the portfolio are now showing registrations in excess of their end of year-one highs and the remainder are broadly in line with their end of year-one registrations; that represents an improvement on the picture at the beginning of 2016, when all of the company’s TLDs were effectively below their year one highs.

The group recorded a loss before tax of US$505,000 compared to a US$56,000 profit in the same period of last year.

READ: Minds + Machines receives Beijing boost; strategic review going according to plan

Cash and cash equivalents declined to US$14.2mln at the end of June from US$15.3mln the year before, largely because of the payment of provisioned liabilities. By the end of August, cash and cash equivalents had risen to US$15.3mln, while an additional US$2.4mln of cash is due the company as a result of “withdrawal share-outs” resulting from the company’s decision to step aside in the applications for the .llc and .inc TLDs.

“The first half of 2017 has been a period of consolidating the transformational progress of 2016 and establishing a solid platform for the business to deliver its maiden year of profitability as an operating business in the current year,” the company said.

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Tue, 26 Sep 2017 07:53:00 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/184571/minds-machines-confident-of-delivering-maiden-operating-profit-this-year-184571.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Half-year Report ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20170926070007_13374974/ Tue, 26 Sep 2017 07:00:07 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20170926070007_13374974/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20170921174550_13371666/ Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:45:50 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20170921174550_13371666/ <![CDATA[News - Minds + Machines' .vip .getting a grip in China ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/183809/minds-machines-vip-getting-a-grip-in-china-183809.html Minds + Machines Group Limited (LON:MMX) has seen a spurt in orders for its .vip domain in China in the last 10 days.

The Internet top level domains (TLDs) owner and operator said that since the release of its 2017 premium inventory for China in late June 2017, premium sales in excess of US$3.4mln have been achieved for the .vip TLD, and around US$2.8mln of those have been closed in the last 10 days.

Toby Hall, chief executive officer of Minds + Machines, said the company is “building a strong, long-term, annuity based business with each of our regions now contributing well to the renewal revenue mix”.

"The exceptional renewal rates achieved in China in H1 are, in no small part, a direct result of the premium pricing policies introduced at the launch of the .vip TLD. The significant interest we are now experiencing in our 2017 premium inventory allocation follows our recent Beijing approval and, we believe, lays down further foundations for strong recurring revenues in subsequent years from the region,” Hall said.

Premium product

Hall has previously explained to Proactive Investors that the term “vip” has a slightly different connotation in China than it does in the west, where the term stands for “very important person”; in China, the connotation is closer to “premium” or “top class”, which explains why so many companies are keen on using it.

"These latest sales also mean we are making excellent progress towards achieving management's top-line billing targets for China for the current year, with more than 60% of our 2017 China premium allocation now sold in recent weeks. These sales, along with the launch of .boston in October, will however further accentuate the H2 weighted nature of our business as we now enter the main renewal seasons for our leading properties in Europe and the US," Hall told investors.

READ: Minds + Machines receives Beijing boost; strategic review going according to plan

Though China is obviously a key market for Minds + Machines, management has been encouraged by the interest now being shown in its premium inventory in the UK and US following the introduction of its revised premium pricing policies earlier this year.

House broker finnCap said: “Today MMX has disclosed that .vip premium inventory bookings in China have reached $3.4m. We estimate this represents c.50% of the comparable figure from last year; however, this been achieved in less than half the time (three months, versus eight in FY16).

“In our view, this achievement is a result of two key factors: management has managed the supply of new premium inventory (hence creating scarcity value); and .vip's brand strength has not faded one year on from launch. This news, together with July's update (.vip: 75% renewal rate) provides compelling evidence that the domain’s status within the investment community is exceptionally strong, which in turn is an excellent foundation for broader adoption with new user groups – e.g. SMEs – an opportunity that has been enhanced thanks to recent licensing approval in Beijing (22m inhabitants).

“Encouragingly, there is evidence this adoption is already taking place – with China’s leading search engine (Baidu.com) recognising c.189,000 different .vip sites,” the broker added.

Shares in Minds + Machines rose 4.1% in early deals on the update to 12.96p.

--- adds broker comment --- 

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Tue, 12 Sep 2017 08:41:00 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/183809/minds-machines-vip-getting-a-grip-in-china-183809.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - China premium sales update ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20170912070012_13359143/ Tue, 12 Sep 2017 07:00:12 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20170912070012_13359143/ <![CDATA[Media files - Minds + Machines gets go-ahead to sell .vip in Beijing ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/8015/minds-machines-gets-go-ahead-to-sell-vip-in-beijing-8015.html Thu, 31 Aug 2017 12:54:00 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/8015/minds-machines-gets-go-ahead-to-sell-vip-in-beijing-8015.html <![CDATA[News - Minds + Machines receives Beijing boost; strategic review going according to plan ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/183223/minds-machines-receives-beijing-boost-strategic-review-going-according-to-plan-183223.html Minds + Machines Group Limited (LON:MMX) has received a significant boost in China, where its top level domain (TLD) .vip is gaining huge commercial traction.

It has received the green light in Beijing to start selling the hugely popular internet signature.

WATCH: Minds + Machines gets go-ahead to sell .vip in Beijing

It was one of ten businesses to gain authorisation in a market of 22 mln people and thousands of small and emerging businesses.

MMX says the latest permission will further “accelerate” its progress in the People’s Republic.

Numbers strong and growing  

Currently, Baidu.com, China's leading search engine, recognises over 705,000 individual .vip pages from 188,764 different .vip sites.

The company said it is “aware of further initiatives that will directly contribute to this continued usage growth of the domain in the coming months”.

The seller and registrar of top level domains should receive a further lift in November when it starts selling Chinese character .vip names.

READ: Minds + Machines in discussions with bidders from Asia, North America and Europe

In the same announcement, MMX said a strategic review of the business that could lead to its sale is progressing “according to the scheduled time-line with discussions ongoing with multiple parties”.

“A further update will be provided in due course,” it added.

In late afternoon trading, Minds + Machine shares - up 25% in the year to date - were 2%, or 0.25p higher at 13.00p.

-- adds video link, updates share price --

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Thu, 31 Aug 2017 08:10:00 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/183223/minds-machines-receives-beijing-boost-strategic-review-going-according-to-plan-183223.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - China licensing update, notice of interim results ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20170831070003_13346487/ Thu, 31 Aug 2017 07:00:03 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20170831070003_13346487/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20170817140001_13333779/ Thu, 17 Aug 2017 14:00:01 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20170817140001_13333779/ <![CDATA[News - Minds + Machines investors await outcome of strategic review but Chinese progress success boosts confidence ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/181510/minds-machines-investors-await-outcome-of-strategic-review-but-chinese-progress-success-boosts-confidence-181510.html Investors in Minds + Machines Group Limited (LON:MMX) are still waiting to hear what will become of the group’s ongoing strategic review, nonetheless, Wednesday’s trading update gave them some reasons to be optimistic.

First, the web domains business gave an upbeat update on renewal rates in China – where the .vip domain has been a huge success and with first-year rates surpassing 75%.

Meanwhile, with the review process, investors were told discussions are ongoing with a number of “interested parties” from Asia, North America and Europe. We’ll learn more on this front when the company, one of the world’s leading operators and owners of internet top-level domains, publishes its interims in late September.

Minds + Machines launched the review in late May after receiving a number of informal bid approaches.

Chinese success story

On China, where the .vip domain has been a huge success, M+M said first-year renewal rates have surpassed 75% - which is among the best-in-class. Chief executive Toby Hall said it was encouraging to see early sales “transition into meaningful first year renewals”.

“This both validates our premium pricing model and demonstrates the underlying robustness of the Chinese domain market when appropriate roll-out strategies are executed that are not reliant on aggressive discounting tactics,” he added.

Hall said the strong renewal rates, as well as new registrations that have grown by over 45% in the first-half, also bode well for the firm’s premium revenues from China in the final six months of the year.

The firm, which sells generic top-level domains (gTLDs) via resellers around the globe, last year brought in a new Chinese cornerstone investor last year in the shape of Goldstream Capital Master Fund I - which subscribed for £5.5mln worth of shares (42.3 mln shares) and a tender offer to all shareholders of 100 mln shares worth £13mln, or 13.2% of the entire issued capital.

Cornerstone Chinese investor

Goldstream is owned by multi-billion dollar group Hony Capital - China's leading private equity group - which specialises in taking firms into China, and MMX believes it will help it increase its presence in Asia, where it sees immediate growth potential.

At the time, MMX’s chief executive Toby Hall described the cornerstone investment as a 'key moment'.

Prior to the group’s launch in China last year, MMX had no exposure to the country. As at the end of 2015, 62% of all its billings came from Europe and 38% from the US with no contribution at all from the Asia region.

Validation of premium pricing

Chief executive Toby Hall said it was encouraging to see early sales “transition into meaningful first year renewals”.

“This both validates our premium pricing model and demonstrates the underlying robustness of the Chinese domain market when appropriate roll-out strategies are executed that are not reliant on aggressive discounting tactics,” he added.

Hall said the strong renewal rates, as well as new registrations that have grown by over 45% in the first-half, also bode well for the firm’s premium revenues from China in the final six months of the year.

That’s because M+M will start releasing its 2017 .vip premium inventory to the broader market for the first time, off the back of the published first year renewal rates.

Major landmark coming quicker than anticipated

CEO Hall was upbeat on prospects for the sales - and expects the company to hit a major financial landmark more quickly than anticipated.

"Whilst the holding back of material premium inventory in China, and no scheduled new domain launch in the period, will mean first-half 2017 sales will not repeat the quantum of first-half 2016, the quality and make-up of the revenue is significantly improved,” he said.

“This gives the board confidence that the company is on track to achieve a key benchmark where recurring revenues from renewals should be equal to or greater than fixed overheads - earlier than anticipated, and within the current financial year.”

Harold Evans, analyst at City broker finnCap, said: “It is clearly very encouraging to see a sustained level of demand from both new and existing customers and in so doing, this reiterates .vip’s significant value.”

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Wed, 26 Jul 2017 15:56:00 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/181510/minds-machines-investors-await-outcome-of-strategic-review-but-chinese-progress-success-boosts-confidence-181510.html
<![CDATA[News - Minds + Machines in discussions with bidders from Asia, North America and Europe ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/181460/minds-machines-in-discussions-with-bidders-from-asia-north-america-and-europe-181460.html Minds + Machines Group Limited (LON:MMX) gave an upbeat update on renewal rates in China as well as a progress report on its strategic review.

On the latter, investors were told discussions are ongoing with a number of “interested parties” from Asia, North America and Europe.

We’ll learn more on this front when the company, one of the world’s leading operators and owners of internet top-level domains, publishes its interims in late September.

Bid approaches

Minds + Machines launched the review in late May after receiving a number of informal bid approaches.

On China, where the .vip domain has been a huge success, M+M said first-year renewal rates have surpassed 75% - which is among the best-in-class.

Chief executive Toby Hall said it was encouraging to see early sales “transition into meaningful first year renewals”.

“This both validates our premium pricing model and demonstrates the underlying robustness of the Chinese domain market when appropriate roll-out strategies are executed that are not reliant on aggressive discounting tactics,” he added.

Hall said the strong renewal rates, as well as new registrations that have grown by over 45% in the first-half, also bode well for the firm’s premium revenues from China in the final six months of the year.

.vip a big success

That’s because M+M will start releasing its 2017 .vip premium inventory to the broader market for the first time, off the back of the published first year renewal rates.

CEO Hall was upbeat on prospects for the sales  –  and expects the company to hit a major financial landmark more quickly than anticipated.

"Whilst the holding back of material premium inventory in China, and no scheduled new domain launch in the period, will mean first-half 2017 sales will not repeat the quantum of first-half 2016, the quality and make-up of the revenue is significantly improved,” he said.

“This gives the board confidence that the company is on track to achieve a key benchmark where recurring revenues from renewals should be equal to or greater than fixed overheads - earlier than anticipated, and within the current financial year.”

At 12.15pm, the shares were marking time at 12.25p each.

Harold Evans, analyst at City broker finnCap, said: “It is clearly very encouraging to see a sustained level of demand from both new and existing customers and in so doing, this reiterates .vip’s significant value.”

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Wed, 26 Jul 2017 08:16:00 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/181460/minds-machines-in-discussions-with-bidders-from-asia-north-america-and-europe-181460.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Company Update: China and Strategic Review ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20170726070004_13307405/ Wed, 26 Jul 2017 07:00:04 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20170726070004_13307405/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20170712070005_13291797/ Wed, 12 Jul 2017 07:00:05 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20170712070005_13291797/ <![CDATA[Media files - Minds + Machines' Toby Hall hails popularity of .VIP domain name in China ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/7595/minds-machines-toby-hall-hails-popularity-of-vip-domain-name-in-china-7595.html Wed, 07 Jun 2017 16:33:00 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/7595/minds-machines-toby-hall-hails-popularity-of-vip-domain-name-in-china-7595.html <![CDATA[News - Renewals for .VIP domain in China removes uncertainty from Minds + Machine model ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/178889/renewals-for-vip-domain-in-china-removes-uncertainty-from-minds-machine-model-178889.html Minds + Machines Group Limited (LON:MMX) said renewal rates for its .VIP top level domain (TLD) in China have been above the industry norm.

The .VIP TLD was launched in China on 17 May of last year, which means its renewal time for those on a one-year contract.

The internet TLDs owner and operator has processed the first month of manual renewals and the numbers have been a pleasant surprise.

WATCH: Minds + Machines' Toby Hall hails popularity of .VIP domain name in China

Minds + Machines (MMX) said deletion requests have been received for less than 1% of the domains registered, while manually confirmed renewals are already above 60%, with the remainder being placed on auto-renew by registrars on behalf of their customers (though these auto-renewals may still be subject to cancellation).

MMX said this renewal rate is significantly ahead of those typically seen by new generic top-level domains in the region.

MMX expects the overall renewal rate for the first month of .VIP registrations, which will be published in late July, to place .VIP in-line with the best-in-class renewal rates of leading western-facing top-level domains, which is to say around 70% and above.

READ Minds + Machines lauds .vip launch as Chinese pile in

"The .VIP renewal rates from China, which have not been reliant on aggressive discounting tactics, are testament to the inherent value of the .VIP extension and hard work of our retail partners,” said Toby Hall, chief executive officer of MMX.

"This bodes well for our Chinese premium revenues in H2 as we begin releasing our 2017 .VIP premium inventory for the first time to the broader market in Q3, traditionally the main domain investment season in the region, on the back of .VIP's exceptionally strong renewal profile," Hall added.

The .VIP domain is proving popular with small-to-medium enterprises in China, as well as the region’s established corporates.

Speaking to Proactive Investors in April, Hall explained that VIP is one of the few English-language acronyms to be adopted by the Chinese, and over the decades its meaning has evolved to denote something that is high class or premium, which is slightly different to its connotation in the West.

MMX is currently progressing a further eight extensions through the Chinese regulator’s approval process for potential future release in China.

READ Minds + Machines shares get the VIP treatment

Shares in MMX were up 3.3% at 12.4p in early deals.

“Today’s news removes a large degree of uncertainty from the model given that .vip represented 59% of gross billings in FY16. As such, if we assume that the renewal rate of MMX's other domains are maintained at their 2016 level (of 75%) and combine this with .vip (at 70%), this would suggest FY17 renewal revenue of c.US$5.9mln – up from US$3.8mln in FY16,” calculated Harold Evans, at MMX’s house broker, finnCap.

“Importantly, this would achieve one of the company's stated goals of renewal revenue in excess of operating costs (now less than US$6mln in terms of current run-rate),” he added.

MMX is currently valued at £86.7mln, and Evans calculates that its .VIP asset alone is worth £57mln, while the group revealed in its recent results statement it has US$15.3mln (about £12.2mln) of cash and cash equivalents. 

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Wed, 07 Jun 2017 13:07:00 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/178889/renewals-for-vip-domain-in-china-removes-uncertainty-from-minds-machine-model-178889.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Portfolio Update: .vip ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20170607070002_13251544/ Wed, 07 Jun 2017 07:00:02 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20170607070002_13251544/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Second Price Monitoring Extn ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20170525090528_13238347/ Thu, 25 May 2017 09:05:28 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20170525090528_13238347/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Price Monitoring Extension ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20170525090031_13238344/ Thu, 25 May 2017 09:00:31 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20170525090031_13238344/ <![CDATA[News - Minds + Machines appoints investment bank after receiving a number of "informal approaches" ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/178313/minds-machines-appoints-investment-bank-after-receiving-a-number-of-informal-approaches--178313.html Minds + Machines Group Limited (LON:MMX), one of the world's leading owners and operators of internet top-level domains, said it had appointed a US investment bank to advise it after receiving informal bid approaches.

Headwaters MB will “review the various strategic options open to the company to maximise value for shareholders”, MMX said in a stock exchange statement.

“The sector remains highly fragmented and the review will explore how strategic options might accelerate shareholder value, in particular whether and how MMX can participate in a broader industry consolidation,” the firm told investors.

“The outcome of the strategic review may therefore include, but not be limited to, an acquisition by or sale/merger of the company.”

The business has been successfully restructured by the new management team and is now profitable and crucially has a recurring revenue stream.

World class asset base

It also reckons it has a “world class asset base”, and one of the strongest footprints in Asia following the launch of .VIP and the subsequent regulatory approval in China.

Prior to the group’s launch in the People’s Republic, 62% of all its billings came from Europe and 38% from the US with no contribution at all from the Asia region.

In a pre-close season update, however, MMX said that - having successfully launched the aforementioned .vip domain into the Chinese market - it has over 586,000 registrations in the country making it a leading generic top level domain (gTLD) name owner there as well as one of the top 10 new gTLD's worldwide.

The firm has a portfolio of TLDs, that's the part of an internet address after the final dot to you and me.

As of the last update in March, it owned 25 new gTLDs (general top level domains) outright, has three in partnership and five, which are managed on behalf of clients.

It is cash generative as it charges resellers an upfront fee when users want  a new or renew a domain.

Domains include .beer

Domains include .beer, .boston, .casa, .cooking, .fashion, .fishing, .fit, .garden, .horse, .law, .miami, .vip, .vodka, .wedding and .work. It also is in partnership with the owners of .basketball, .country, .london and .rugby.

The transfer of the .boston domain has now gone through the back-room processes of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which means MMX, in conjunction with the Boston Globe newspaper and the city of Boston, can begin planning for the launch of the domain, with ‘general availability’ scheduled for September 2017.

In a November update, MMX said it is experiencing higher than expected renewal rates stateside across its US-specific top level domains.

In Europe, the company announced the implementation of a long-term co-marketing campaign with registrar .UK  - a registrar is like a retailer, selling domain names to the public; while MMX, as a registry is more like a wholesaler, maintaining the database of domain names.

As the first leading UK registrar to introduce the initiative, in its first month the group saw a three-fold increase in .london registrations.

The company is closely monitoring the implementation of this long-term initiative across the wider UK registrar channel in 2017, as well as other initiatives planned for both the UK and Germany in the coming year.

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Thu, 25 May 2017 07:17:00 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/178313/minds-machines-appoints-investment-bank-after-receiving-a-number-of-informal-approaches--178313.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Adviser Appointment and Strategic Review ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20170525070007_13237747/ Thu, 25 May 2017 07:00:07 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20170525070007_13237747/ <![CDATA[News - Minds + Machines' registrations already up 40% year-to-date ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/176838/minds-machines-registrations-already-up-40-year-to-date-176838.html Move over dot.com and dot.net – the new generic top level domains (gTLDs) are where it’s at, judging by the results from Minds + Machines Group Ltd (LON:MMX).

The owner and operator of internet TLDs confirmed in its 2016 results the favourable trends flagged in its March update, and highlighted the continuing strong demand for new TLDs – the bit of an internet address after the final dot – across the globe.

New gTLD market growth is up some 6% year-to-date at more than 29mln domain name registrations, according to nTLDStats.com, while last year net new registrations in new gTLDs outstripped those in .com/.net by nearly seven-fold, and those in country codes (e.g. dot.uk) nearly four-fold.

MMX's registrations are already up over 40% year-to-date in 2017, following a near three-fold increase of registrations in 2016

WATCH: Minds + Machines chief on 2016 results READ Minds + Machine is taking domains to the next level propelled by China SIGN UP for the Proactive news round-ups

Minds + Machines is riding the wave of this trend, with billings in 2016 doubling to US$15.8mln from US$7.9mln the year before.

China accounting for more than half of gross billings

China was the big story, where the group’s dot.vip TLD is proving to be the bee’s knees; the People’s Republic accounted for 59% of gross billings.

Stripping out payments to partners, revenue last year was up 146% to US$13.5mln from US$5.5mln.

Underlying earnings before one-off restructuring costs clocked in at US$3.0mln, representing a turnaround from 2015’s loss of US$4.4mln.

Reported loss before tax narrowed to US$1.84mln from US$4.37mln the year before. The pre-tax loss was entirely down to restructuring costs and of US$4.9mln, which included a US$3.75mln costs to renegotiate onerous contracts.

Removing costs from the business 

The group’s new management has worked hard on removing costs from the business, and reduced operating costs to US$6.5mln last year from US$11.7mln the year before.

The current operating expenditure (opex) run rate is below the group’s US$6mln a year target.

“This lower cost base (as well as growing renewals) meant that renewals (as a % of opex) improved to 52% (FY15: 15%). 100% is an ambition for the company, and if achieved would provide an excellent platform for high margin growth,” said house broker finnCap.

As at the year-end cash stood at US$15.3million compared to US$34.7million at the start of the year. The change can largely be accounted for by a US$20.3mln share buy programme and tender offer.

“FY17 cash conversion should improve due to the completion of restructuring activities; however, [it] will also be impacted by payments of c.$2-3m pa until FY19, following the restructure of a challenging contract. This contract should, however, benefit future sales, thanks to the more favourable terms that have now been agreed,” finnCap noted.

MMX is targeting three main areas as new registrations continue to grow strongly

Toby Hall, chief executive officer of Minds + Machines, focused on the strong growth opportunities open to the group.

"To understand the key market drivers of the new gTLD industry that saw net new registrations outstrip those in .com and the country codes combined in 2016, it is important to recognize the trends both from within the industry as well as external factors,” said Toby Hall, chief executive officer of Minds + Machines,” Hall said.

"It is therefore central to our strategy that we are positioned to support the three end markets that management sees are looking to benefit from those trends through our registrar partners – namely: new-start SME's that are coming online for the first time, as well as established businesses already online; digital entrepreneurs that are looking to develop significant new markets and applications based around domain address conventions and domain investors who serve both as early pioneers, as well as marketeers, of new extensions,” he added.

"We continue to have significant scope for billings and revenue improvement as the group's premium and standard name inventory across its world-class portfolio of top-level domains is better monetized,” he added.

 

Broker finnCap noted that the group’s dot.vip TLD is now well established in China, and it is applying for the rights to seven TLDs, some of which may be resolved by private auction in 2017.

“MMX is strongly positioned to capture growth from the valuable Chinese market. Added to this, the prospects for the US and Europe are also promising given that .boston is due for launch in H2 and sales from existing domains are accelerating thanks to refocused effort and new pricing strategies,” the broker said.

Shares in Minds + Machines rose a halfpenny to 11p on the results before coming off the top to 10.65p, up 1.4% on the day.

SIGN UP for the Proactive news round-ups ]]>
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 08:46:00 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/176838/minds-machines-registrations-already-up-40-year-to-date-176838.html
<![CDATA[Media files - 2016 'a year of restructure, transformation and growth in billings' for Minds + Machines ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/7328/2016-a-year-of-restructure-transformation-and-growth-in-billings-for-minds-machines-7328.html Tue, 25 Apr 2017 08:07:00 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/7328/2016-a-year-of-restructure-transformation-and-growth-in-billings-for-minds-machines-7328.html <![CDATA[RNS press release - Final Results ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20170425070009_13202721/ Tue, 25 Apr 2017 07:00:09 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20170425070009_13202721/ <![CDATA[News - Minds + Machines Group Limited picks up US$500,000 worth of domain orders ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/176590/minds-machines-group-limited-picks-up-us500000-worth-of-domain-orders-176590.html Minds + Machines Group Limited’s (LON:MMX) has received orders for 90,000 standard name registrations across its US and Europe facing top-level domains (TLDs).

The orders are worth approximately US$500,000 and represent a 37% increase on current registration levels in MMX's US and European portfolio.

Toby Hall, chief executive, said the orders reflected the regional traction for particular TLDs.

Registrations hadbeen driven by businesses wishing to use or own their names rather than domain name investors, he added. 

“They also reflect the investment we have made over the past quarter into developing our sales teams in these regions.  We are optimistic that the interest we are now seeing in standard name registrations will in turn benefit premium name registrations over the coming months." 

Earlier this month MMX reported a 200,000 registration order in its lead Asia facing TLD, .vip.

Shares rose 4% to 10.9p.

CLICK HERE: For a daily round-up of all the Proactive news

 

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Wed, 19 Apr 2017 08:58:00 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/176590/minds-machines-group-limited-picks-up-us500000-worth-of-domain-orders-176590.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - New orders - US and Europe ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20170419070008_13196291/ Wed, 19 Apr 2017 07:00:08 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20170419070008_13196291/ <![CDATA[News - Minds + Machines shares get the VIP treatment ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/175847/minds-machines-shares-get-the-vip-treatment-175847.html Internet domains provider Minds + Machines Group Limited (LON:MMX) has reported orders for more than 200,000 new registrations in its .vip top-level domain.

The new registration orders will generate a minimum of US$1.3mln in income for Minds + Machines.

Minds + Machines (MMX) does not use the loss-leader “freemium” model, so its renewal rates tend to be higher than the industry average.

It is expected that the registrations will show on industry sites that track new generic top level domain (gTLD) registrations over the next ten days and will take total registrations in .vip to in excess of 800,000.

Minds + Machines is targeting more than one million registrations by the end of the year, and remains confident this will be achieved. It was only 13 days ago that the company revealed it had 586,000 registrations, making it a leading gTLD in China as well as one of the top 10 new gTLDs worldwide.

"The latest registrations underline the ongoing vibrancy of the Chinese domain name market and the long-term potential of .vip both in China and potentially the wider Asia region. It also bodes well for the upcoming first-year renewals season following the industry-breaking first month launch of .vip last May,” said Toby Hall, chief executive officer of the company.

According to Hall, the .vip domain is proving popular with small-to-medium enterprises in China, as well as the region’s established corporates.

Speaking to Proactive Investors, Hall explained that VIP is one of the few English-language acronyms to be adopted by the Chinese, and over the decades its meaning has evolved to denote something that is high class or premium, which is slightly different to its connotation in the West.

“What’s particularly encouraging for us in China is that domain investors are coming in and they are seeing two things happen: one is natural interest among other investors who want to own .vip extensions; along with that, actual businesses out there are saying, you know what? We can see real commercial use in in creating .vip sites for their business, or using it in marketing campaigns, or as a customer service portal,” said MMX chief executive Toby Hall in a conversation with Proactive Investors.

The distinction between the two groups is that a domain investor will buy a domain name with a view to earning money from it, either from filling it with content that attracts viewers and therefore advertising, or through selling the domain on, whereas an existing company – for example purposes let’s call them RinkaDink Inc – would be interested in acquiring Rinkadink.vip.

Hall says it is in the company’s DNA to support three audiences. Firstly the domain investors “who jump first”, the early adopters; secondly, SMEs wishing to use the .vip extension as part of their commercial activity; and lastly, entrepreneurs who are seeing new ways in which address-endings can be used.

“We view this as an important audience,” Hall said, when outlining the group’s business approach.

“We feel we have a duty to create an entrepreneurial climate in terms of how domain extensions can be used, probably because we all come from entrepreneurial backgrounds.”

Every market has its tipping point and Hall told Proactive Investors that the company is particularly excited about those regions of the world where the internet is only just coming of age, and internet use is set to explode.

Using the old pickaxe/gold rush analogy (people who sold pick axes to gold prospectors tended to have a steady income even if they did not hit any jackpots), Hall said that top level domains (TLD) are “fundamental to the way the internet works”.

Providing TLDs might not be as sexy as creating a mobile app that may (or may not) one day revolutionise the way we order food, hail a taxi or waste our time waiting for a bus, but the market will be around for a long, long time.

--- adds management comments ---

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Mon, 03 Apr 2017 12:25:00 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/175847/minds-machines-shares-get-the-vip-treatment-175847.html
<![CDATA[News - Minds + Machines says .vip internet domain name now being marketed in Japan ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/175129/minds-machines-says-vip-internet-domain-name-now-being-marketed-in-japan-175129.html Minds + Machines Group Limited (LON:MMX), one of the world’s leading owners and operators of internet generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) has reported “significant continued operational progress” across a number of business activities, including the marketing of .vip into Japan.

In a pre-close season update, MMX said that, having successfully launched the .vip domain into the Chinese market in May 2015, it currently has over 586,000 registrations making it a leading gTLD in China as well as one of the top 10 new gTLD's worldwide.

MMX's chief executive, Toby Hall told Proactive Investors in an interview that the group is targeting 1 mln .vip registrations by the end of 2017. 

WATCH: MMX CEO says 2016 an ‘exceptional year’ … READ: Investment case for MMX ….

Following .vip's success in China, the company is now looking to target other territories within Asia and announced that Japan's leading registrar group, GMO, has commenced marketing .vip into Japan.

In his interview, Hall mentioned India as an area with strong digital prospects, and other emerging Asian regions.

The group pointed out that GMO accounts for approximately 90% of gTLD registrations in the Japanese market and “is an important strategic partner for the company.” Alongside .vip, MMX said GMO is also marketing .work, another gTLD in the mmx portfolio.

Given the interest received by mmx from certain new distribution partners in South East Asia and India for certain TLDs within its portfolio, the company is additionally reviewing its options for extending its retail distribution footprint more widely into these regions.

The firm said it is targeting global registrations of .vip to surpass one million by the end of 2017.

China auctions …

MMX also announced that, within China, it is participating directly in the auctions of .vip premium names currently being held by eName, one of the leading registrars in the country. 

It said that, within the first five days of the auction, gross sales of .vip premium inventory released by mmx has reached approximately US$160,000.

The company said China currently accounts for over 46% of new gTLDs and remains a growing and important market.

WATCH: MMX boss encouraged ...

In the US, MMX said it continues to strengthen its distribution and sales channels team with the appointment of a highly experienced new business development director who will focus on further monetisation of the group's premium inventory across its portfolio of TLDs in North America.

The appointment follows the company's announcement of a revised premium inventory renewal pricing policy to the industry in January this year.

Separately, MMX said, .boston is scheduled to be released for 'general availability' in September 2017.

MMX also announced that terms have been signed with a distribution partner which the group believes should “lead to a material increase of registrations in two of the Company's geographic gTLDs over the next twelve months.”

Positive progress …

In the statement, Hall said: “Following the positive progress of 2016 reported in January, I'm delighted that the momentum has continued into 2017.”

He added: “Significant progress is being made on a range of initiatives that should deliver meaningful standard name registration growth and awareness across a number of our TLDs in 2017, as well as premium inventory sales which typically benefits the profile of our top-line billings.

“We are well placed for further future growth and, with operating expenses under control, we look forward to the rest of 2017 and 2018 with confidence."

MMX will announce its results for the year ended 31 December 2016 on April 25.

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Tue, 21 Mar 2017 08:14:00 +0000 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/175129/minds-machines-says-vip-internet-domain-name-now-being-marketed-in-japan-175129.html
<![CDATA[Media files - 2016 'an exceptional year for Minds + Machines', says CEO Toby Hall ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/7140/2016-an-exceptional-year-for-minds-machines-says-ceo-toby-hall-7140.html Tue, 21 Mar 2017 08:13:00 +0000 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/7140/2016-an-exceptional-year-for-minds-machines-says-ceo-toby-hall-7140.html <![CDATA[News - Minds + Machine is taking domains to the next level propelled by China ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/172178/minds-machine-is-taking-domains-to-the-next-level-propelled-by-china-172178.html Minds + Machines Group Ltd (LON:MMX) has surged since a transformational first half of 2016, which saw the internet domains provider launch operations in the exciting Chinese market, with full-year 2016 billings seen doubling.

The firm, which sells generic top-level domains (gTLDs) via resellers around the globe, also revealed the arrival of a new Chinese cornerstone investor last year in the shape of Goldstream Capital Master Fund I - which subscribed for £5.5mln worth of shares (42.3 mln shares) and a tender offer to all shareholders of 100 mln shares worth £13mln, or 13.2% of the entire issued capital.

Goldstream is owned by multi-billion dollar group Hony Capital - China's leading private equity group - which specialises in taking firms into China, and MMX believes it will help it increase its presence in Asia, where it sees immediate growth potential.

At the time, MMX’s chief executive Toby Hall described the cornerstone investment as a 'key moment'.

Asian boost …

Prior to the group’s launch in China last year, MMX had no exposure to the country. As at the end of 2015, 62% of all its billings came from Europe and 38% from the US with no contribution at all from the Asia region.

In a pre-close season update today, however, MMX said that - having successfully launched the .vip domain into the Chinese market in May 2015 - it currently has over 586,000 registrations in the country making it a leading gTLD owner in China as well as one of the top 10 new gTLD's worldwide.

Hall told Proactive Investors in an interview that the group is targeting 1 mln .vip registrations by the end of 2017.

WATCH: MMX CEO says 2016 an ‘exceptional year’ … READ: .vip domain now marketed in Japan ….

Following .vip's success in China, the company is now looking to target other territories within Asia and announced that Japan's leading registrar group, GMO, has commenced marketing .vip into Japan.

In his interview, Hall mentioned India as an area with strong digital prospects, and other emerging Asian regions.

In today’s update, Hall said: “Significant progress is being made on a range of initiatives that should deliver meaningful standard name registration growth and awareness across a number of our TLDs in 2017, as well as premium inventory sales which typically benefits the profile of our top-line billings.

“We are well placed for further future growth and, with operating expenses under control, we look forward to the rest of 2017 and 2018 with confidence."

Pure play registry …

In April last year, fresh management set MMX off on a new course to rationalise and simplify costs, inking a deal with Nominet to take over the running of up to 28 top level domains within the group's portfolio.

It also struck made a deal with Uniregistrar Corp to take over its loss-making consumer-facing registrar operation, which as Hall explained, had been a considerable drain on the group's cash resources.

This sent a clear message to other registrars that the group wanted to partner, not compete, auguring well for its future growth as a pure registry business play.

Billings strong …

In a trading update in January, MMX said top-line growth had blasted it to profitability at the operating level in 2016 as its total billings jumped by 100% to US$15.8mln, up from US$7.9mln in 2015.

Excluding partner payments, billings for the year were up 115% year-on-year to US$13.9mln, as a result of an improved contribution from the group’s wholly-owned TLDs.

The group said its operating earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation (EBITDA) and restructuring costs are expected to top US$3.5mln when the numbers for 2016 are finally totted up.

That’s a big improvement on the US$12.1mln loss registered in 2015.

The group said renewal billings increased by 116% year-on-year to US$3.8mln, up from US$1.75mln the year before, suggesting MMX’s domains “have legs” in terms of lasting appeal.

The firm’s chief operating officer Michael Salazar said then: "After a transformational twelve months in terms of building revenues and cutting costs, we are now beginning to see the real benefits of being a portfolio player as we start to leverage the experiences and insights gained across the portfolio."

A growing market

The firm has a portfolio of TLDs, that's the part of an internet address after the final dot to you and me. It owns 25 new gTLDs (general top level domains) outright, has three in partnership and five, which are managed on behalf of clients.

It is cash generative as it charges resellers an upfront fee when users want  a new or renew a domain.

Domains include .beer, .boston, .casa, .cooking, .fashion, .fishing, .fit, .garden, .horse, .law, .miami, .vip, .vodka, .wedding and .work. It also is in partnership with the owners of .basketball, .country, .london and .rugby.

The transfer of the .boston domain has now gone through the back-room processes of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which means MMX, in conjunction with the Boston Globe newspaper and the city of Boston, can begin planning for the launch of the domain, with ‘general availability’ scheduled for September 2017.

In a November update, MMX said it is experiencing higher than expected renewal rates stateside across its US-specific top level domains.

In Europe, the company announced the implementation of a long-term co-marketing campaign with registrar .UK  - a registrar is like a retailer, selling domain names to the public; while MMX, as a registry is more like a wholesaler, maintaining the database of domain names.

As the first leading UK registrar to introduce the initiative, in its first month the group saw a three-fold increase in .london registrations.

The company is closely monitoring the implementation of this long-term initiative across the wider UK registrar channel in 2017, as well as other initiatives planned for both the UK and Germany in the coming year.

Quality of earnings …

‘House’ broker FinnCap initiated coverage on the stock last year, noting that while the group's valuation reflected potential growth, it also discounts for risk, to reflect its immaturity.

"Over the coming years, we expect that the quality of earnings will rise and as a consequence, its rating should improve – this view is founded on the expectation that renewal rates typically improve after the first year period of a sale, thus achieving predictable earnings," analyst Harold Evans said.

The broker's modest assumptions derived an initial fair value of 20p, although currently its target price is ‘under review’.

In an update in January, the analyst said: “With MMX’s domains gaining material traction in 2016 and additional domains scheduled to launch this year, the direction of travel for the business is clearly positive and we look forward to prelims, expected in April.”

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Wed, 25 Jan 2017 14:00:00 +0000 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/172178/minds-machine-is-taking-domains-to-the-next-level-propelled-by-china-172178.html
<![CDATA[Media files - Minds + Machines Group boss encouraged by optimism in top-level domain space ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/6789/minds-machines-group-boss-encouraged-by-optimism-in-top-level-domain-space-6789.html Wed, 25 Jan 2017 09:35:00 +0000 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/6789/minds-machines-group-boss-encouraged-by-optimism-in-top-level-domain-space-6789.html <![CDATA[News - Leaner Minds + Machines profitable at the operating level ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/172154/leaner-minds-machines-profitable-at-the-operating-level-172154.html Top-line growth blasted top level domains (TLDs) seller Minds + Machines Group Ltd (LON:MMX) to profitability at the operating level in 2016.

Total billings doubled to US$15.8mln from US$7.9mln in 2015.

Excluding partner payments, billings for the year were up 115% year-on-year to US$13.9mln, as a result of an improved contribution from the group’s wholly-owned TLDs.

Operating earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation (EBITDA) and restructuring costs are expected to top US$3.5mln when the numbers for 2016 are finally totted up.

That’s a big improvement on a US$12.1mln loss in 2015.

The group, which is now a pure play domains registry business, said renewal billings increased year-on-year by 116% to US$3.8mln from US$1.75mln the year before, suggesting Minds + Machines’ domains “have legs” in terms of lasting appeal.

Standard (as opposed to premium) name renewals accounted for 57% of the renewal billings.

The directors expect renewal billings will continue to grow, with the contribution from standard names, in volume and percentage terms, increasing.

It is now almost a year since Minds + Machines (MMX) announced a change at the top, with Toby Hall taking over as chief executive, and one of the noticeable changes has been an emphasis on cost reduction.

The group told investors on Wednesday that costs for its ongoing operations were cut by more than 40% to around US$6.8mln.

“Encouragingly, the figure for 2016 includes approximately US$1.0million of non-recurring costs so the group's ongoing operating expenditures for 2017 are already below the US$6.0million run-rate previously set for the year,” .

The cost of goods in 2016 rose to US$2.5mln from USS$1.3mln, but this was in a year that saw the number of domains under management to 821,136 from 288,831 twelve months earlier.

The one-off restructuring of the company has now been completed on time and on budget, while the group has extricated itself from what it called “burdensome contract obligations” entered into by the previous management.

In the short-term, restructuring costs will hit the company but in 2017 management will focus on getting the cost/income ratio down even further, with a goal of achieving a cross-over point in the next 18 months that should see the renewal billing run-rate exceed the group’s operating expenditures.

When that moment occurs, any revenue from new clients added to the roster will pretty much drop straight to the bottom line, once cost of goods have been deducted.

Billings from new registration sales grew to just under US$12million in 2016 from US$3.7million in 2015.

Management believes there is significant continued scope for further substantial top-line growth given over 80% of the group's premium inventory remains unsold and there is effectively an unlimited stock of standard name inventory across MMX's portfolio.

"We now have an organisational structure in place that will allow the group to continue growing profitably. This is particularly exciting given the phenomenal growth we are seeing in what is still effectively a nascent industry -  a nascent industry that saw a net growth of over 16million registrations during 2016 - broadly in line with that of .com and all the country codes combined,” said Toby Hall, chief executive officer of MMX.

“As we look forward into 2017, our focus will be to continue monetising our portfolio both in terms of new registrations and renewals across our three main regions of focus - Asia, particularly China, Europe and the US, with a natural emphasis towards those markets showing greatest growth," he added.

Chief operating officer Michael Salazar added: "After a transformational twelve months in terms of building revenues and cutting costs, we are now beginning to see the real benefits of being a portfolio player as we start to leverage the experiences and insights gained across the portfolio."

House broker finnCap said the trading update justified the decision to become a lean, pure-play registry business.

The second half performance confirmed a continuation of the key positive themes that emerged in the first half of the year, namely meaningful billings growth and cost discipline.

“With MMX’s domains gaining material traction in 2016 and additional domains scheduled to launch this year, the direction of travel for the business is clearly positive,” said finnCap analyst Harold Evans.

Evans highlighted the potential to achieve strong earnings visibility through renewals.

In 2016, gross renewal bookings more than doubled to US$3.8mln, and accounted for 24% of gross billings.

As the group’s portfolio matures, Evans expects renewals will grow in absolute and percentage terms.

“Management has an 18-month target for net renewals to exceed opex (cUS$6mln) and if achieved, could result in a significant improvement in EBITDA margin, from an already healthy (estimated) 27%,” Evans said.

“Management plans to follow the same approach as 2016, by looking to launch no more than two domains (one of which will be .boston) as well as continuing to develop existing domains, from each of the regions through its growing network of registrar and distribution partners,” the broker noted, as it pledged to issue maiden forecasts when the audited full-year results come out in April. 

Shares rose to 9.83p on the update from 9.37p overnight before surrendering those gains by noon.

--- adds broker comment and audio interview with CEO ---

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Wed, 25 Jan 2017 07:46:00 +0000 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/172154/leaner-minds-machines-profitable-at-the-operating-level-172154.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Result of AGM ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20161221165610_013075337/ Wed, 21 Dec 2016 16:56:10 +0000 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20161221165610_013075337/ <![CDATA[News - Minds + Machines upbeat about prospects in 2017; broker concurs ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/170779/minds-machines-upbeat-about-prospects-in-2017-broker-concurs-170779.html The annual general meeting of Minds + Machines Group Limited (LON:MMX) is set to celebrate a company that is now achieving positive underlying earnings (EBITDA).

Chief executive Toby Hall was set to tell shareholders: “We have undertaken significant steps to restructure the business and position it to grow revenues across its broad portfolio of TLDs [top level domains].

“The net result is a business which was significantly loss making at the operational level is now EBITDA positive on an ongoing basis. We look forward to continuing this trend into 2017 and beyond."

Hall was also set to tell shareholders of his recent visit to China, a key market for the company, which sells internet domain names via resellers.

Read Minds + Machines taking domains to the next level Read Minds + Machines gets Chinese green light for dot VIP domain Watch Minds + Machines group Ltd 'very pleased' with growth in China

The company recently received the green light from the Chinese authorities for its .vip top level domain.

Registrations for the .vip TLD have now passed 500,000 registrations in China, so official approval from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) for the top level domain (TLD) – the bit in an internet address after the final dot – is a fairly big deal for the company.

Following the approval from the MIIT, Hall visited its registrar (domain names seller) and strategic partners on the Chinese mainland and in Hong Kong over a seven day period.

“Not only did this reinforce the ongoing opportunity in China but also the wider Asia region for the group,” Hall said.

Meanwhile, the board has been encouraged by the early results in the fourth quarter of test initiatives to drive usage of its TLDs in the US and Europe, where the dynamics of the market are different to those in Asia. 

“Since MIIT approval in China (on 5/12/16) domain registrations have risen by 26,000, equivalent to a 5% increase, achieved in just 15 days. As expected therefore, approval has been a catalyst for sales within the county as activation (of the domain names) has meant improving consumer awareness and also the possibility for registrars to market to SME’s, which previously was not possible,” said Harold Evans at Minds + Machines’ house broker, finnCap.

“It is also positive to note from management that .vip is not just resonating with consumers and businesses in China (even though this is the largest market for new gTLDs globally) but across the wider Asia region also,” Evans added.

The broker added that it was “clearly positive” to note the company had remained profitable in the second half of the year, despite not receiving any benefit from a major domain launch, as was the case in the first half of the year (i.e. .vip in China).

finnCap cites this as evidence that both registrations and renewals for existing domains have remained healthy and additionally that costs remain closely monitored.

“We also remind investors that this performance in FY16 demonstrates a significant turn-around from the prior year when adj. EBITDA (i.e. excluding domain auction proceeds) was €-12.1mln and now with €22m of net cash (post tender offer estimate) and with performing domains, the business is both well-funded and positioned to grow further,” Evans said. 

---adds broker comment---

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Wed, 21 Dec 2016 07:51:00 +0000 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/170779/minds-machines-upbeat-about-prospects-in-2017-broker-concurs-170779.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Annual General Meeting Statement ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20161221070005_013074011/ Wed, 21 Dec 2016 07:00:05 +0000 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20161221070005_013074011/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Notice of AGM ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20161212170135_013064376/ Mon, 12 Dec 2016 17:01:35 +0000 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20161212170135_013064376/ <![CDATA[News - Minds + Machines gets Chinese green light for dot VIP domain ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/169971/minds-machines-gets-chinese-green-light-for-dot-vip-domain-169971.html Minds + Machines Ltd (LON:MMX) said it has received the green light from the Chinese authorities for its .vip top level domain.

Registrations for the .vip top level domain have now passed 500,000 registrations in China, so official approval from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) for the top level domain (TLD) – the bit in an internet address after the final dot – is a fairly big deal for the company.

Approval means that owners of .vip VIP domain names within China can now apply for the relevant local licence to allow their .vip domain names to be hosted in the country.

The group's TLD .vip is one of only three generic new top-level domains (gTLDs) to have received this approval via this MIIT announcement.

The group’s chief executive officer, Toby Hall, hailed it as a major milestone.

“We share the China domain industry's opinion that regulatory approval will provide for another wave of top-level domain growth in the region. Influential Chinese registrars will now be able to market this select group of approved new gTLDs more actively to the important local Chinese SME end-market for usage. We are deeply honoured to be one of only three registries to be approved in this first round of approvals," Hall said.

Read Chinese quickly getting used to .vip treatment with Minds + Machines Watch Minds + Machines group Ltd 'very pleased' with growth in China The investment case: Minds + Machines taking domains to the next level

Hall has previously spoken to Proactive Investors about the significance of China as a market for the group, and it appears Dr Mao Wei, a luminary of the Chinese domain industry and board chairman of ZDNS, MMX's technical partner in China, agrees, as he said .vip “has the potential to become one of the most popular, significant top-level domains in China.”

Hall noted that China accounts for 42% of the 27 million new top-level domain addresses that have been registered to date.

“It therefore was a priority of 2016 to successfully access this region. Having a domain that is fully compliant, approved and extremely well accepted by the Chinese market, is therefore a key asset for the group," Hall said.

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Mon, 05 Dec 2016 14:59:00 +0000 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/169971/minds-machines-gets-chinese-green-light-for-dot-vip-domain-169971.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - .vip MIIT approval ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20161205102724_013056418/ Mon, 05 Dec 2016 10:27:24 +0000 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20161205102724_013056418/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20161128114237_013048630/ Mon, 28 Nov 2016 11:42:37 +0000 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20161128114237_013048630/ <![CDATA[Media files - Minds + Machines group Ltd 'very pleased' with growth in China ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/6348/minds-machines-group-ltd-very-pleased-with-growth-in-china-6348.html Tue, 08 Nov 2016 07:56:00 +0000 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/stocktube/6348/minds-machines-group-ltd-very-pleased-with-growth-in-china-6348.html <![CDATA[News - Chinese quickly getting used to .vip treatment with Minds + Machines ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/168599/chinese-quickly-getting-used-to-vip-treatment-with-minds-machines-168599.html Top level internet domain registry business Minds + Machines Group Ltd (LON:MMX) has passed a major milestone in its Chinese business.

The group said it has now performed more than half a million registrations in the People’s Republic for its .vip domain, which is not bad going, as it only went on sale in May of this year.

The group said that the milestone was achieved without making use of the “fremium” sales models in its marketing; the fremium model involves giving the basic product away for free, perhaps in an ad-supported version, and then charging for additional features.

The company said it plans to open a branch office in Xiamen, a recognised hub for the Chinese domain industry, to support its development in China.

Meanwhile, in the US, the transfer of the .boston domain has now gone through the back-room processes of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which means Minds + Machines, in conjunction with the Boston Globe newspaper and the city of Boston, can begin planning for the launch of the domain in 2017.

The group added that it is experiencing higher than expected renewal rates stateside across its US-specific top level domains (TLDs).

In Europe, the company announced the implementation of a long-term co-marketing campaign with registrar .UK (a registrar is like a retailer, selling domain names to the public; Minds + Machines is a registry, that is more like a wholesaler, maintaining the database of domain names).

In the first month, the first leading UK registrar to introduce the initiative saw a three-fold increase in .london registrations. The company will be closely monitoring the implementation of this long-term initiative across the wider UK registrar channel in 2017, as well as other initiatives planned for both the UK and Germany in the coming year.

"Progress within the business is continuing at a significant pace and the outlook for 2016 remains upbeat,2 said Toby Hall, chief executive officer of Minds + Machines.

“We are continuing to both rationalise our historic business and invest in our partners and portfolio to ensure we build on this momentum in 2017 across each of our key markets. After a period of significant internal heavy lifting, we are now beginning to see the advantages that our portfolio of TLDs can deliver," he added.

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Mon, 07 Nov 2016 07:52:00 +0000 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/168599/chinese-quickly-getting-used-to-vip-treatment-with-minds-machines-168599.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Portfolio Update ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20161107070009_013025672/ Mon, 07 Nov 2016 07:00:09 +0000 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20161107070009_013025672/ <![CDATA[News - Minds + Machines taking domains to the next level ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/166235/minds-machines-taking-domains-to-the-next-level-166235.html Minds + Machines Group Ltd (LON:MMX) shares surged in September as it told the market about a transformational first half, which saw it launch operations in the exciting Chinese market and while registrations for top level domains (TLDs) continue to grow.

The firm, which sells TLDs via resellers around the globe, also revealed the arrival of a new Chinese cornerstone investor in the shape of Goldstream Capital Master Fund I, which is subscribing for £5.5mln worth of shares (42.3mln shares) and a tender offer to all shareholders of 100mln shares worth £13mln, or 13.2% of the entire issued capital.

Goldstream is owned by multi- billion dollar group Hony Capital - China's leading private equity group, which is specialised in taking firms into China, and MMX believes it will help it increase its presence in Asia, where it sees immediate growth potential.

Chief executive Toby Hall described this cornerstone investment as a 'key moment'.

Previously, the group had no exposure to China. As at the end of 2015, 62% of all its billings came from Europe and 38% from the US with no contribution from the Asia region.

Now a pure play registry business

In April, fresh management set off on a new course for the firm to rationalise and simplify costs, inking a deal with Nominet to take over the running of up to 28 top level domains within Minds' portfolio. It also made a deal with Uniregistrar Corp to take over its loss-making consumer-facing resgistrar operation, which as Hall explained, had been a considerable drain on the group's cash resources.

This sent a clear message to other registrars that the group wanted to partner, not compete, auguring well for its future growth as a pure registry business.

A good first half and more to come

The launch into China helped group billings in the six months to June 30 increased over 300% to US$8.05 million (2015: US$2.0 million), while revenues more than doubled to US$7.4 million ( 2015: US$3.6 million).

Notably, there was positive operating underlying earnings (EBITDA) before restructuring costs of US$2 million in the period.

Ongoing operating costs were cut 27% to US$3.6 million (2015: US$4.9 million) with further savings to be realised in the second half as MMX decreases towards its 2017 target of US$6 million.

The retained loss for the period was US$1.9mln (2015: loss of US$3.6mln).

Meanwhile, the firm ended the half with cash of US$29.1 million, down 16% from US$34.7 million at 31 December 2015 due to, among other factors, foreign currency fluctuations, share buy-backs and the restructuring.

A growing market

The firm has a portfolio of TLDs, that's the part of an internet address after the final dot to you and me. It owns 25 new gTLDs (general top level domains) outright, has three in partnership and five, which are managed on behalf of clients.

It is cash generative as it charges resellers an upfront fee when users want  a new or renew a domain.

Domains include .beer, .boston, .casa, .cooking, .fashion, .fishing, .fit, .garden, .horse, .law, .miami, .vip, .vodka, .wedding and .work. It also is in partnership with the owners of .basketball, .country, .london and .rugby.

The transfer of the .boston domain has now gone through the back-room processes of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which means Minds + Machines, in conjunction with the Boston Globe newspaper and the city of Boston, can begin planning for the launch of the domain in 2017.

The group, in a November update, added that it is experiencing higher than expected renewal rates stateside across its US-specific top level domains.

In Europe, the company announced the implementation of a long-term co-marketing campaign with registrar .UK (a registrar is like a retailer, selling domain names to the public; Minds + Machines is a registry, that is more like a wholesaler, maintaining the database of domain names).

In the first month, the first leading UK registrar to introduce the initiative saw a three-fold increase in .london registrations. The company will be closely monitoring the implementation of this long-term initiative across the wider UK registrar channel in 2017, as well as other initiatives planned for both the UK and Germany in the coming year.

Significantly, in its September results statement, the firm said the new gTLD (generic top level domain) market was experiencing material growth. It noted that in the first half of 2016, net registrations in new gTLDs grew by 11.6 million to a whopping 28.2mln.

To give an idea of the value of such domain names, MMX noted industry news that the purchase of .shop (not in the firm's portfolio) in May had been for a price of an eye watering US$41.5 million.

Hall told investors: "China and the Far East are leading the way and MMX has demonstrated it can and will continue to play a meaningful role in this region and the gTLD market as a whole."

In November, the group said it had performed more than half a million registrations in the People’s Republic for its .vip domain, which is not bad going, as it only went on sale in May of this year.

MMX plans to open a branch office in Xiamen, a recognised hub for the Chinese domain industry, to support its development in China.

FinnCap believes quality of earnings will improve

FinnCap has started covering the stock, noting that while the group's current valuation reflects potential growth, it also discounts for risk, to reflect its immaturity.

"Over the coming years, we expect that the quality of earnings will rise and as a consequence, its rating should improve – this view is founded on the expectation that renewal rates typically improve after the first year period of a sale, thus achieving predictable earnings," said an analyst Harold Evans.

He reckons once the firm's delivery of the model is evident, it would be highly attractive to an acquirer (probably a trade sale).

It's cash generative nature means, he also reckons, that there is also scope for a future dividend, which will cheer investors.

The broker's modest assumptions derive a fair value of 20p, suggesting 54% upside to the 13p tender price, which was announced.

"It is, however, challenging to predict short-term success, given the immaturity of MMX’s domains," said Evans.

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Sun, 06 Nov 2016 08:04:00 +0000 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/166235/minds-machines-taking-domains-to-the-next-level-166235.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Total Voting Rights ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20161101070007_013019124/ Tue, 01 Nov 2016 07:00:07 +0000 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20161101070007_013019124/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20161021143003_013009666/ Fri, 21 Oct 2016 14:30:03 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20161021143003_013009666/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20161017070104_013002273/ Mon, 17 Oct 2016 07:01:04 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20161017070104_013002273/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20161017070009_013002240/ Mon, 17 Oct 2016 07:00:09 +0100 http://static2.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/10627/LSE20161017070009_013002240/