@UK Signs 3 New Contracts

Jan 09, 2013

@UK PLC, the cloud ecommerce marketplace, is pleased to announce the signing of three new contracts, delayed from 2012, referenced in the trading update announced on 13 December 2012, which are expected to deliver revenues of over £500,000 over a three year period, adding to the Company's visible future revenue.  The Company has received purchase orders for £190,000 of which £112,000 has already been paid.  The Company has collected over £220,000 in cash so far in 2013 relating to these and other contracts and expects to see strong positive cash flow in the coming months.

Extension of the Hertfordshire County Council marketplace to enable trading with schools and academies

Serco has purchased an extension of the @UK marketplace for Hertfordshire County Council to allow the council to sell its in-house services to schools and academies.  This is a significant new market. Academies are now separate from local authorities and are no longer required to purchase services from their local authority.  Local authorities therefore need to transform the services that they offer to academies, such as Legal, Finance, Standards, Improvement and Supplies so that they are easy to purchase, well marketed and continue to provide good value for money to the academies.  This is a significant shift in the market and the directors of @UK expect interest from a number of local authorities in systems to improve trading with schools and make it easy for academies to continue using the local authority services. There are approximately 160 local authorities affected by this change.

Nigel Bates, Strategic Development Director Serco said:

"Our concept has always been to build an e-services platform and marketplace that can offer web trading universally across Hertfordshire's entire range of services for citizens, businesses and schools alike. This announcement is the next logical step along that strategic route."

Ecommerce marketplace for Bristol City Council

Bristol City Council was one of the first public sector users of the @UK system in 2004, acting as a reference site for the West Country and local authority sector. It switched to an alternative catalogue-based solution as part of a wider initiative in 2008 and has subsequently carried out a complete evaluation of the market prior to returning to @UK.  Bristol City Council is seen as one of the leaders in the local authority sector, and its return as a customer of @UK is expected to be highly beneficial to @UK both in terms of acting as a flagship reference site to the local authority sector and demonstrating best practice to the wider public sector.

Ecommerce marketplace for Work Based Learning, extending the GeM system

JISC Advance, a not-for-profit company largely financed by grants from the UK funding councils for further and higher education, has contracted with @UK to provide an ecommerce marketplace for Work Based Learning, extending the GeM system. The Work Based Learning marketplace is a new exercise to bring the benefits of nationally-negotiated contracts and efficient procurement practice to the private sector Work Based Learning providers.  This system will allow the providers to purchase supplies at better rates via the marketplace, taking the benefit of drawing together the £170 million that Work Based Learning suppliers spend each year with their suppliers, with the potential to benefit from leveraging the £2billion spent by universities and colleges. This is believed to be the first example of the public sector helping suppliers with their procurement to the public sector.  There is a very large number of suppliers that are dependent on public sector funding which could benefit should this programme be extended to the other areas of public sector spending. In the case of Work Based Learning there are 500 directly funded suppliers and a further 1,000 that are indirectly funded.

@UK believes that this is a new market with approximately 10,000 significant buying organisations that could benefit from leveraging public sector negotiating power to reduce their costs and increase their efficiency.  There are approximately 1 million suppliers to the public sector who could potentially benefit from a system that assists suppliers with their purchasing.

Guy Lambert of JISC Advance commented, "Our mission is to help learning providers across the sectors to take full advantage of the benefits technology can bring to their businesses. We are delighted to build on our previous partnership with @UK to deliver something which we believe will provide a real benefit to the WBL community, helping them to overcome the challenges of the current economic situation."

Ronald Duncan, Chairman of @UK commented, "We are delighted with these early sales successes in 2013, demonstrating the breadth of demand for our ecommerce marketplace and services. While it is always difficult to be certain of the timing of public sector contracts, we are confident that the market for our services is expanding and we view the future with confidence."