Orion says clients hanging out for latest technology — just like waiting for latest iPhone — sent stock to record low

Orion Health has blamed disappointing third quarter revenue, which sent the software developer's shares tumbling to a record low, on its own version of the "iPhone 6 effect".

The Auckland-based company - whose technology facilitates the sharing of information between hospital departments, healthcare providers and health professionals - said customer receipts in the three months to December 31, which totalled $30 million, were below expectations.

Orion raised $120 million in new capital through an initial public offering in November.

Its shares, which were issued in the IPO at $5.70 a piece, closed at $5.20 last night after falling to a record low of $5.10 during trading.


On a conference call with investors, chief operating officer Graeme Wilson said customers were increasingly interested in Orion's newly developed technology, such as its population health management systems.

"I think the easiest way to think about that is what I call the iPhone 6 effect," Wilson said. "Three months ago nobody wanted to buy an iPhone 5 - they all wanted to wait for the iPhone 6. That's a little bit like what we're experiencing at the moment where our opportunities in the pipeline that we're seeking to contract are now repositioning in some instances to be on our new technology."

Those dynamics meant it sometimes took longer to get contracts across the line.

"Customers are wanting to investigate that technology further - wanting to see proof statements of it working," Wilson said.

Orion said third quarter revenue had been affected by slower contract closures and bill collections in North America, a trend that was expected to continue into the fourth quarter.

Customer receipts were also adversely impacted by an ongoing transition from perpetual licences to subscription contracts.

In a departure from common practice, Orion did not include any prospective financial information in its IPO prospectus, saying its inconsistent revenue - which comes via large contracts - made forecasting too difficult.

On the conference call, a portfolio manager from institutional investor ACC, which holds shares in Orion, said he was "mildly shocked" by the $25.8 million in net cash outflows the firm reported for the third quarter.


Orion had $96.5 million in cash on December 31, according to yesterday's statement.

Wilson said that if the third quarter customer receipt figure was multiplied by four it would deliver a low number.

"Traditionally, [the third quarter] is a low quarter for cash collection for us so it's a timing thing where cash collection and operating revenues don't match," he said. "Also ... we've seen some of our contract closures in the US take longer."

Orion chief executive Ian McCrae told investors he had been heavily focused on research and development since the IPO process was completed in November.

"In April there's going to be one of our biggest product launches ever in the company's history," said McCrae, who has retained a 50.4 per cent stake in Orion, which he founded in 1993. "I'm personally pretty excited about that."

In November he said the company was looking to bulk up its research and development team with 350 new staff over the next two years.

That would double Orion's R&D headcount to 700.