Leaner WiLAN positioned for 2016 growth, says CEO

Ottawa-based WiLAN grew both revenue and earnings in 2015 and CEO Jim Skippen said Thursday the patent-holding company has positioned itself for future growth.

"We signed eleven new partner agreements, which is a low-cost and low-risk way for us to acquire new patent portfolios, bringing our total to more than 50 programs covering nine industry verticals,” Mr. Skippen said in a statement.

With 45 patent license agreements signed in the last year, combined with the acquisition of the Qimonda and Freescale patent portfolios, WiLAN now has five times more patents than it did last year, Mr. Skippen said.

2015 revenue, at $102.9 million was up five per cent from 2014 and its adjusted earnings of $59.6 million, or 49 cents per share, was up two per cent from last year. Adjusted earnings represented 58 per cent of the firm’s annual revenue.

Revenue in the fourth quarter was up 18 per cent to $26 million, while adjusted earnings, at $15.7 million or 13 cents per share, represented 60 per cent of revenue.

WiLAN also restructured its operations in the fourth quarter, a decision Mr. Skippen called “difficult.” The restructuring saved $8 million to $10 million in annual expenses, the company said.

“We have emerged as a leaner organization with a strong balance sheet, significant capacity to grow and a large portfolio of high quality patents,” Mr. Skippen said. “Taken together, we believe we are well-positioned to invest in the business in order to capitalize on the substantial opportunity in the IP market."

WiLAN shares were trading at $1.66 at the end of the day Thursday, up two per cent.