Educational services provider EDI has overcome testing times on the international market to report steady progress and the promise of a maiden dividend.
The AIM-listed Coventry company provides accredited examinations services, qualifications and back office support for qualifications and assessments.
Around 500,000 people every year sit exams which are set and marked by EDI, which grew from the Leamington Spa-based Goal.
Yesterday it reported progress during a period of reorganisation with a slight increase in pretax profits.
Turnover in the six months to March 31 stayed static at £6.25 million, although pretax profits on ordinary activities increased from £284,000 to £379,000.
But the group will have to improve its performance in the second half if it is to meet full year expectations of £1.1 million profits before goodwill and sales of £14.5 million. If it meets these targets, chief executive Nigel Snook promised a maiden dividend for the firm, which floated in April 2000.
The period also saw the company's relocations and reorganisation programme fully implemented, with the move of LCCI International Qualifications business from Sidcup in Kent and Goal from Leamington.
The business has now consolidated onto one site at the Middlemarch Business Park in Coventry.
The operating profit of £422,000 included a £179,000 release from the provision it had to make when it left the Leamington offices, after the agreement was reassigned.
Chief executive Nigel Snook said he was pleased to maintain the company's performance in a time of such change.
He said: "These first half results reflects the major organisational development and changes which have been going on. We had strong growth in the first half of last year and we are pleased to maintain turnover at the same level this year."
Mr Snook said he was confident of hitting analysts expectations.
"The first half is not the biggest half of the year for us. On the international exams, there are three big dates per year, and two of those are in the second half."
The company improved its performance in the UK, raising sales from £3.01 million to £3.33 million in the period, but the international division suffered.
Sales dropped from £2.12 million to £1.89 million at the international division, which sets and marks exams in South East Asia, Europe and Zimbabwe.
Mr Snook said: "As anticipated, the sales value of our international qualifications services fell by 11 per cent to £1.9 million compared with the same period last year.
"Zimbabwe is a big market for us, but the country has suffered with very high inflation, around 1,000 per cent which affected us.
"But we have now changed payment terms from Zimbabwean dollars to US dollars to stop this happening.
"Germany is also one of our biggest markets, but economic conditions there have been tight for a few years which has meant reduced government expenditure on qualifications."
Mr Snook said the Zimbabwean situation had cost EDI around £140,000 in sales, while the German downturn had affected it by £115,000.
The company had been bolstered by the £425,000 acquisition of the Joint Examining Board, a specialist provider of vocational training and ICT teaching qualifications for professional staff.
"This gives us a presence in Ireland, which we have never had before, new products and the ability to cross sell between this and our other businesses.
"But we expect to meet the analysts expectations, and if we do there will be a maiden dividend for the full year."