Covid app developer NearForm rejigs corporate structure

Company reports near 10% rise in revenue to €19.9m as pretax profit climbs to €1.57m

NearForm, the software company that developed the technology used in the Health Service Executive's Covid contact-tracing app, has reorganised its corporate structure by setting up a parent company domiciled in Delaware in the United States.

Newly-filed accounts filed in Dublin for NearForm Limited and its subsidiaries show it was acquired by Delaware-based NearForm Holdings in December for an undisclosed sum.

The move came shortly before the company secured a multimillion-euro investment from Washington DC-headquartered Columbia Capital.

Delaware is one of a number of states that last year launched apps based on NearForm’s technology. The state has in recent years become a location for those seeking to take advantage of the so-called “Delaware loophole”, which allows companies to minimise their tax bills while also not disclosing beneficial owners . As a result, nearly half of all public corporations in the US are incorporated in the state.

NearForm reported a 9.5 per cent rise in revenue in 2020 to €19.9 million, as against €18.2 million a year earlier.

The company develops enterprise software and uses cloud computing to build business platforms for clients that include the New York Times, IBM, Microsoft and Condé Nast.

Pretax profit edged up to €1.57 million from €1.2 million, with the company paying out a €1.33 million dividend during the year.

Gross margin was in line with the previous year, although in percentage terms if fell from 45.9 per cent to 41.8 per cent.

NearForm earlier this year appointed former Accenture director Ciaran Cosgrave as its chief executive, as co-founder Cian Ó Maidín moved into the role of company president.

Technology

Founded in 2011 by Mr Ó Maidín and Richard Rodgers, the developer has become well known for the technology it developed for the HSE, which has more than 1.3 million active users. That technology, which is built on open-source software, has since been adopted for use in several other jurisdictions, including four US states.

A breakdown of 2020 revenue show that just €3.5 million in turnover derived from activities in the Republic.

At the end of last year, NearForm said it had net assets of €8.2 million, a “strong cash position, increased by €2.4 million and no debt”.

Staff costs rose substantially, from €9.8 million to €11.09 million, although employee numbers remained stable at just over 90.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist

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