After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, a number of emerging industries were suddenly thrust into the spotlight, among them video teleconferencing. Some were predicting a fundamental shift away from traditional business travel. Instead, video conferences were painted as a safe, inexpensive, reliable alternative. While the airline industry has yet to regain solid footing, video conferencing hasn't exactly seen the boon many predicted.
ACT Teleconferencing is the latest company to capitalize on the fast-growing Asia-Pacific Rim region. The firm has had its eye on further penetration of this market, where revenues have been steadily advancing at 53% per year since it first set up shop in 1997. CEO Gene Warren has cited several targets of opportunity, most notably health care and long-distance education.
ACT Teleconferencing's international expansion follows other recent developments for the firm, such as a significant contract extension with AT&T
In what has been a tough environment, ACT Teleconferencing has managed to double revenues from $28.3 million to $55.8 million over the past four years. Little ground, though, was gained on Polycom, which managed a double of its own to $420 million over the same time frame. Despite a $900,000 drop in the sale of videoconferencing equipment over the first quarter, ACT Teleconferencing's operating income grew from a loss of $476,000 to an $87,000 gain, and net losses were trimmed from $0.11 per share to $0.03.
The new revolution of video conferencing has yet to materialize, but if there is a rebound in the restrained levels of global IT spending, at least ACT Teleconferencing may finally see a positive number at the bottom line.
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Fool contributor Nathan Slaughter owns none of the companies mentioned.