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CentralNic Group Q&A: No negative impact from COVID-19 (LON:CNIC)

CentralNic Group plc (LON:CNIC) Chief Executive Officer Ben Crawford caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss the new hires within the business, their business continuity plan and what makes the company so resilient.

Q1: Ben, a little bit of shuffling and some new hires to the team since we last spoke. Do you just want to talk us through the changes?

A1: So, those that follow the company know, we’ve actually doubled in size in terms of revenues, it took the last couple of years. So, we’re a much larger company than we were so we felt it was time to restructure so that we can continue the growth.

So, where traditionally we had one group of executives overseeing all the businesses, now we’ve split the company up into divisions and we’ve put a really senior executive from the industry in charge of each of those divisions. That has involved some new hires and obviously that reflects the confidence in our business and the strategy that even in today’s uncertain climate, we’re bringing new senior staff on because our plan is to, obviously, continue growing at the same rate that we have been.

We also bought on a great new Head of HR as we’re faced with the issue if integrating companies all over the world that have different bonus structures and pay structures and holiday schemes and so on. She’s doing a fabulous job, obviously thrown into the deep end as one of the first things she’s had to do is organise everyone to work from home but we had plans and she’s executing them in a fantastic way.

Q2: You’ve also released an update in response to the COVID-19 situation, what was the key message from that update?

A2: Well, there were a few key messages.

One is that CentralNic Group has a business continuity plan that we’ve had for over a decade now about working from home and it’s because we run core infrastructure of the internet. Therefore, we needed to always be prepared for some situation which might mean we couldn’t get into our offices, we couldn’t access our computers but we had to make sure our company still ran. That’s because there are companies and people over the world that depend on us, depend on their domain names to make sure that their emails continue to work, make sure their websites continue to work so they can keep communicating with each other.

So, we were extremely well prepared for this and so, everyone in our whole company we got them working from home in advance of any government requirement. One of the happy results of that is, so far, none of our staff anywhere in the world has been affected themselves with coronavirus although some of the staff obviously have been working from home for quite a while. It also means that our staff is fully deployed, everybody is busy doing their jobs and our customers have not experienced any kind of downturn in service, everything is working well.

I guess the other point is not only do we deliver our services over the internet but we also procure services over the internet so our entire supply chain is over the internet. So, that’s the other thing, I know other businesses are very worried about their supply chain but ours is all delivered online so we’re able to ensure continuity of the service for all our customers.

Q3: What is it that makes CentralNic Group so resilient?

A3: I think it is the fact that we’re a completely online business and in fact, when people need to work from home and people can’t just walk across the office and have a chat to their colleagues, they actually tend to use email much more. Obviously, when customers can’t come into your shop, you’re very much dependent on your website in order to have those customers come and buy from you and those are the services that we really provide the foundation for, email and websites.

So, actually, we’ve seen business going according to the market consensus, we monitor very very closely and so far, we’ve seen no negative so we’re very happy about that. We will be putting out our 2019 year-end report the week of 27th April and that week we’ll also put out our Q1 results, not because we’re required to but simply just to share with people the reassurance that our trading is going just fine.

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