On March 12th I had an interview with Jason Siemens, the COO of NamSys. My goal was to get his thoughts on the business’s performance in 2020 and the potential of Brinks Complete/Cirreon Banking.
Disclosure: I own shares of CTZ.V
My 2020 NamSys results post can be found here.
I have written quite a bit about Brinks Complete/Cirreon Banking and I believe it will drive growth for NamSys. What I don’t know (among many things I will admit) is what does the profitability profile of Cirreon Banking look like compared to Cirreon Smart Safe. I anticipate some Brinks smart safe customers transitioning to Brinks Complete. This same thought was echoed by Brinks CEO Doug Pertz:
As we laid out, you can see that there’s a substantial number of customers, over 500, 550, I think we said on the chart. And that as well as a target number of pilot customers or customers that are these large opportunity customers. Our strategy is to go after both existing CIT customers and convert to what we think is better value for them and frankly, for us down the road as well, as we’ve suggested with the benefits. And that’s why you see such a high number of customers. In other words, we think 500-plus customers, 550 customers is a fair number of customers, which means it’s converting existing customers over.
So CEO Pertz does not specifically say that Brinks will be targeting smart safe customers to convert them but acknowledges that existing cash-in-transit customers will be targetted for upselling. It only makes sense that some customers would transition to Brinks Complete. So what does that mean for NamSys?
Interview with Jason Siemens
I will use COO Siemens words as much as possible. I am cautious not to misrepresent a statement made by an executive. My goal is to provide as accurate information as possible.
NamSys Performance in 2020
I was a different year. NamSys went completely remote in 2020. NamSys was in a good position before 2020 to go fully remote because they are fully cloud-based.
For a few months, recurring revenue was definitely impacted. Sales were definitely impacted in 2020 but nothing major. The biggest impact from COVID was difficulty closing new business.
NamSys does a lot of their business at the 3 or 4 trade shows they attend a year. They meet with owners of cash-in-transit companies in person and this is how they complete a lot of sales.
I described to Jason that after the AGM presentation in April of 2020 I thought neutral or negative revenue growth was likely. He said the company thought its revenue would be even. They did not forecast the revenue growth they achieved.
Jason said he knew the smart safe business would be consistent since they are in many gas stations, grocery stores and convivence stores but store closings could affect their revenue.
NamSys rode the wave of the overall growth in the cash-in-transit industry. As Jason described it the CIT businesses “are doing gangbusters”. CIT businesses had a great year, meanwhile, every newspaper was reporting how a business has stopped taking cash.
Bank branches closing or reducing hours lead to an increase in ATM usage. CIT companies were filling ATMs twice a week instead of once creating higher utilization of their fleets. Jason thought this trend could continue since customers are realizing they don’t need to go to the branch to receive good customer service but still need to withdraw cash.
Upselling was mentioned in the 2019 AGM call as critical to sales growth. I asked how upselling went in 2020.
Jason replied that upselling went very well. He described the advantage NamSys provides CIT companies, specifically the smaller operators. Big system integration works is a “monumental task” and being able to go to one vendor makes things much easier for the company. Integrating a cash vault system and the cash-in-transit system can take months and months of development and testing. This leads to large integration costs, often in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Instead, NamSys offers a turn-key solution that is already integrated and creates a lot of value for the business. Having a fully integrated system eliminates double entry of data and reduces errors. There is very little upfront cost to the customer since it is a subscription-based product making the investment low risk for them.
International and Canadian Sales Growth
International sales growth was put “on the back burner” in 2020. The company decided to focus its resources on moving to fully remote and supporting its existing clients through the pandemic This drew resources away from international growth.
I asked specifically about sales growth in Mexico, which was 83% year-over-year. Jason was very happy with the results in Mexico. He also mentioned the Caribbean and South America also as positive. Mexico was one of the companies’ first forays into international business. NamSys has now been in the market long enough to establish itself. The customers they do have are now starting to implement their second software implementation.
Jason sees additional opportunities in Asia, Europe and the Middle East
I have always found it odd that NamSys has such little revenue in Canada. Jason said NamSys has never done well in the Canadian market. Canadian banks are traditionally very conservative and the CIT business in Canada is not competitive with really only 2 players in Canada, Brinks and Garda. Smart safe penetration in Canada is much lower for a number of reasons.
The perception of security in Canada seems to be higher. More restaurant owners and others feel safe walking to the bank branch with their deposit every night. Another reason is the prevalence of the loonie and toonie (Canadian coin currency). So other than large recycler products the smart safe becomes a partial solution if it lacks the ability to process coins.
NamSys is in hundreds of Canadian quick service restaurants, Brinks smart safes and limited cash vault processing. Overall the Canadian market is slow to change, risk averse and not competitive so Jason feels its resources are better spent in other markets.
Interview with Jason Siemens: Brinks Complete/ Cirreon Banking
Jason was hesitant to comment on Brinks Complete. His concern is that NamSys will release non-public information about Brinks. Instead, he commented on Cirreon Banking more generally. The advantage of Cirreon Banking is that it opens up NamSys to a much broader group of customers. The penetration of smart safes is a fraction of total stores. This is highlighted in the Brinks investor presentations. There are a lot of stores that will never justify traditional smart safe hardware. CIT’s need to come in with lower-cost hardware or they need to go in with an alternate solution, one that still allows them to get their deposits and change orders in an efficient fashion. This may involve non-CIT services.
NamSys is continuing to work with Brinks of course but are also working with other CIT providers and banks to give them solutions that target the same type of market. NamSys is excited about getting Cirreon products in front of a much larger audience even if the price point is lower. The sales cycle is shorter, there is less friction and the market is orders of magnitude greater than just smart safe monitoring. The potential new customers for Cirreon Banking is what’s exciting the company in 2021.
In terms of investment that NamSys needs to make to facilitate the growth of Cirreon Banking, a lot of it is leveraging existing technology. The back end is sufficient to scale but they are investing in new interfaces and native apps that can be white labelled and available for branding. This will allow more customers to access the platform.
Cirreon Banking Margins
My biggest question was regarding Cirreon Banking margins. I’ve written numerous times that I anticipate some smart safe customers migrating to Cirreon Banking. CEO Doug Pertz has hinted at this in Brinks conference calls.
NamSys has not released information on margins for Cirreon Banking yet. He described Cirreon Banking as being a less complex product when compared to smart safe and requires less customer support.
Long-Term Employee Bonus Plan
I asked about the bonus plan and if there has been any staff turnover since it was resolved. The employees that were included in the plan have been with the companies for 20 years and some longer. He doesn’t anticipate any staff turn over as a result of the bonus plan being concluded.
Jason felt the resolution of the plan was a good thing as it gave employees some certainty. The plan was opaque and its true value wasn’t known. Now employees know what their ownership in the company is.
The plan ended up not being the best incentive since employees did not know what the reward would be in the end. The decision was made to conclude the plan as efficiently as possible.
Interview with Jason Siemens: Heading Into 2021
The company is now seeing the backlog from 2020 being recognized in 2021 (remember NamSys’s year-end is October 31st). Sales are coming through the door and they have a lot of new projects and customers on board.
Because of this giant spike in activity, the company has been “overloaded”. The increase in activity started in November and carried on into January and February so they are getting caught up now.
As for new products, Jason described the new app he mentioned earlier. The app will be more consumer-facing with a target customer being all of their existing cash-in-transit customers and banks that are looking to bind their customers to the cash service infrastructure.
An update on the NamSys website is coming soon.
The NamSys website provides some good info on the company and its offerings. The case studies are particularly helpful.
I was happy with my interview with Jason Siemens. The company appears to be poised for a solid 2021 and we should start to see the results of the backlog Jason described. He said new sales started to close at the beginning of November, none of which has been captured in the financials yet. Cirreon Banking expands NamSys’s potential market opportunity. Brinks appears quite bullish on its success even though the rollout of Brinks Complete was slowed by the pandemic. I’m not sure how far along other CIT companies are with Cirreon Banking. Growth in Cirreon Banking sales is likely to be the driver of revenue for the foreseeable future.
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