In 2022, we delivered a solid performance while navigating substantial global economic change – with the main effects of the pandemic subsiding, inflationary cost pressures and significant fluctuations in currency exchange. Against this backdrop, I am pleased to report a strong performance in both of our divisions, with Group revenue increasing by 12.7% for ongoing operations when excluding the exceptional contribution of sales of COVID-19 products to both years.
We achieved a key milestone with Edgility, our edge computing and virtual networking solution, which was awarded a multi-year contract by a major network provider in the UK, CityFibre. This is an important validation of this product. We were thrilled to receive, shortly post year end, a $26m order for our latest high-performance cyber security solution, which was from our long-standing government defence department customer. Our diagnos-tics business was strengthened with the launch of new molecular diagnostics tests and progressing the develop-ment of others, including establishing collaborations with the Stop TB Partnership and BIOASTER to accelerate this process. We also opened a new state-of-the-art laboratory in Israel and product assembly rooms in Rome.
Accordingly, while we were not immune to the currency headwinds and reduced demand for COVID-19 products, our business was strengthened during the year and we delivered a solid underlying performance.
Having founded BATM in 1992, after 30 years, Dr. Zvi Marom felt it was the natural time to hand over the running of the Group and, accordingly, from 1 January 2023, he assumed the role of Non-executive Director. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Zvi for his tireless commitment and outstanding contribution to the development and success of BATM. Under his leadership, the team at BATM has delivered exceptional value creation for shareholders. He has passed on BATM in a strong financial position and with a solid platform to push ahead with the commercialisation of the IP developed within the Group. He remains a highly valued member of our Board and continues to contribute to BATM's business.
I am delighted that Zvi’s successor as CEO is Moti Nagar, who had been our CFO since 1 January 2015 and having joined BATM in June 2014 as VP Finance. In recent years, in addition to being the CFO, he had been the de facto COO of the Group, running the day-to-day operations.
Moti is highly respected by the people in the Group and our shareholders, and the Board and I look forward to supporting him as he takes BATM forward on the next stage of its exciting journey.
We were also pleased to announce, on 1 February 2023, the appointment of Ran Noy as CFO and as a designated Director who will become a member of the Board follow-ing the approval of shareholders (in accordance with Israeli law). He had already made a valuable contribution to BATM since joining us as VP Finance in 2021, building on his experience with other international, public companies, and we look forward to this continuing.
In addition, we welcomed back Dr. Avigdor Shafferman as a Non-executive Director during the year. He made an excellent contribution to our business as an External Director from 2015-2018 and we are now, again, able to leverage his wealth of knowledge and experience, particu-larly within medical markets.
As we have said before, making a positive impact on individuals, communities, businesses and the environ-ment has always been important to BATM. This is reflected in our choice of target sectors, from eco-friendly solutions for pathogenic waste treatment and diagnostic solutions for infectious disease to small footprint network operating systems, among others.
However, during the year we began a process to gain a greater understanding of our own environmental impact and to systematically assess the risks and opportunities that are presented to our business by climate change.
As part of these efforts, we are putting in place new frameworks and procedures, which also have application beyond environmental matters, that will strengthen our organisation and make it more sustainable. While it is still relatively early days, I am proud of the progress that we have made to date, which is detailed in the TCFD Report on pages 20-26 of Annual Report 2022.
The Board considers returns to shareholders to be an important element of its strategy to deliver shareholder value. I am pleased that BATM was able to return almost $6m in aggregate to shareholders during 2022, through a dividend payment and a share buy-back programme, while also maintaining a robust balance sheet.
Strategy and Outlook
We started 2023 as a stronger company than we were prior to the outbreak of the pandemic. We are experi-encing good momentum across our business and our backlog is significantly higher than this time last year. We expect Edgility to achieve even greater success in 2023 while in diagnostics we are ideally placed to capitalise on the demand for quicker and more accurate testing. Importantly, we expect revenue growth in all our business units this year.
Since becoming CEO in January, Moti has been reviewing BATM's plans in order to set BATM’s strategy, for approval by the Board, to enable us to achieve sustainable growth.
We are looking to bring a greater focus to our business, including assessing how resources can be best allocated to create value and where value should be realised from what we have today. Our objectives are to continue to innovate while enhancing our global marketing capabilities in order to accelerate our future growth. We look forward to updating shareholders on the outcome of this process in due course.
I would like to thank our shareholders for their support and commitment to BATM. With the solid foundations that we have in place, the Board remains confident in the prospects of the business and we will do our best to deliver the substantial value that exists within our Company.
Dr. Gideon Chitayat
30 April 2022
Our Vision: Reliability and InnovationBATM