Vancouver-based service provider dips into red

A Vancouver-based service provider lost more than $500,000 last year despite pulling in 14 per cent more revenue than it did in 2007.

Radiant Communications, which sells wired and wireless broadband wireless, Web hosting, VPN and other services, said it lost $531,433 for the year ending Dec. 31, 2008 on revenue of $24.9 million after notching a profit in 2007.

Still, in a conference call Friday with financial analysts, president and CEO David Buffett called it a “successful transformative year” and believes Radiant will be in the black in 2009.

At the beginning of last year the company launched its AlwaysThere hosted Exchange offering, he said, which broke even in September and by the end of the year had 3,000 seats.

“Radiant ended the year with a record backlog of customer sites for roll out in 2009 which positions us very well for the upcoming year,” said Buffett. Also in September, Radiant signed a five year managed services agreement with an unnamed North American consumer services organization to provide service to over 3,000 locations. The company said the deal is valued at more than $20 million.

Last year it also spent $1.2 million to complete its national MPLS network, build out a second redundant virtual grid in Toronto, install new real-time network monitoring systems and significantly upgrade its business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities.

Radiant, which has offices in Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal, has no debt and says it can fund capital expenditures internally, putting it in good position despite the recession. “In the face of extremely difficult times for Canadian small and medium business we are experiencing continuing record growth as new and existing customers embrace our secure and reliable,” Buffett said.

The consumer services customer that signed the five year deal is “financially healthy and is very well positioned to weather the current economic situation in North America,” he said.

The recession has hit retailers hard, and Radiant has a number of them – including Wal-Mart, lululemon, Laura Canada , Sony Canada, HDS Retail and Dollarama. Buffett went out of his way to mention that so far this year none of his company’s top 50 customers has filed for bankruptcy protection.

On the other hand, he acknowledged the struggling economy is affecting customer spending. Corporate executives approached for the hosted Exchange service are putting off decisions, while potential broadband customers “are a little bit hesitant” in awarding contracts.

Still, he said, “we had a solid January.”

(For more on Radiant, click here)