Payment experience over the past two years has been good and the level of protracted payments and insolvencies remains low compared to other industries.
- The Australian ICT market is forecast to grow further in 2019 and 2020 (value added up by more than 4% annually). Both state and federal governments remain key investors in IT projects, while ICT spending of businesses and consumers is driven by economic growth and technological progress.
- In general, ICT is a profitable segment with steady margins. However, in 2018 margins have deteriorated for businesses in the ICT wholesale and retail segment, where the market is very competitive and cost pressure is high.
- Many ICT businesses are highly leveraged, either via debtor financing for working capital management or through term loans. Banks are quite open and willing to offer loans to the industry. It is important for ICT businesses to have healthy cash flow as a lot of companies earn extra margin through early settlement of invoices, and therefore having working capital funding in place is quite important.
- Payments in the ICT sector generally take between 30 and 60 days from invoice date or between 30 and 45 days end of month (EOM). Payment experience over the past two years has been good and the level of protracted payments and insolvencies remains low compared to other industries. No major change is expected in 2019.
- Our underwriting stance remains generally open for IT producers and service, as this segment generally performs well with profitable businesses and a good non-payment notification and claims record. The same accounts for telecommunications, which is a highly regulated segment with many financially strong businesses.
- However our underwriting stance on ICT wholesalers and retailers has become more restrictive, especially for small businesses, which suffer most from the higly competitive environment. Smaller ICT retailers often face liquidity issues, and credit insurance claims in this segment have increased over the past 12 months.