Calian Technologies Ltd. may soon have a new name. In a news release following their last quarterly results on Nov. 10, the company’s CEO, Kevin Ford announced a proposed name change to Calian Group Ltd. “to more accurately reflect the current business activities of the Company.”
Calian has come a long way since former Ottawa Mayor Larry O’Brien founded it in 1982. The company that was once only focused on high technology now also providesengineering and manufacturing, healthcare and training to diverse clients.
The name change mirrors the company’s growth in diversity but first needs to be approved by shareholders in February. Once that’s done, it will only take one or two months before the new name is put in place says the CEO.
Ford says this change wouldn’t bring on any complications but there will be a small challenge. “The challenge for us is to make sure that that brand is understood going forward with our customers and shareholders,” he says. “Why I’m changing the name is I really want to relaunch the Calian brand so we’re going to use that as an opportunity to do so.”
He says in a way they’re “polishing up the brand,” and making sure people get to know all their sectors.
A focus on diversity
“A lot of people don’t realize how diverse we are,” says Ford. He explains that the relaunch is an opportunity for the new Calian Group to show everyone that the company embraces this diversity through its five key services: engineering, manufacturing, healthcare, training and IT services.”
In the last fiscal year, Calian grew its diverse brand even more by acquiring all outstanding shares of Med-Team Clinic Inc., Amtek Engineering Services Ltd. and DWP Solutions Inc.
“Diversity is our stability because we do so many things in different places and we do very well in them, ” says Ford.
Other than Calian’s various service lines, they also have wide-ranging customers and partners, varying from the Department of National Defense to Loblaws to NASA.
Ford says that Calian’s goal is not to do as many things as possible but to reach as many people as possible with what they already do.
“I don’t want to se us start painting. I don’t want to see us building buildings. I don’t want to see us building rocket ships,” he says. “What I want to see us do is take what we do today, which we do very well, and now expand that into new customers.”
A multi-cylinder engine
Ford says he thinks that diversity is important in the marketplace because if one element isn’t doing well, there’s always another that will be successful. “What diversity bring you is the ability to withstand,” he explained.
He compared being a diverse company to being a multi-cylinder engine. “If it’s a four cylinder engine, you want all four cylinders firing at one time but if one cylinder isn’t firing, the engine still runs and it still can actually get to where you want it to go. And, that to me is the whole spirit of what we’re trying to do here at Calian.”
Being diverse might be good for expanding the business but not quite as good when it comes to selling shares. Lou Schizas, an equity analyst says the more diverse a company is, the more competitors it has and that may not be a good thing for shareholders.
Schizas explained that some people find more assurance in investing in a company that only focuses on one line of business or type of service.
Although the analyst noted, “Calian is a micro-cap company that gives out a steady dividend” and he explained that some people also look for that when investing in stocks.
This year the publicly traded company has paid a total of $8.3 million in dividends. According to Ford, one of Calian’s priorities is to continue to provide a solid return to shareholders but he says that in order to do that, it needs to grow the business.
Calian has been growing. It’s had their highest revenue on record this fiscal year at $60.9 million, a significant increase from last year’s $54.4 million.
After a 9% drop in yearly revenue in 2014, the company made a comeback with this year’s full year revenue reaching $242 million that’s a 15% increase from last year’s $211 million and a 4% increase from 2013’s $232 million. Ford links this growth with its attempts to rebrand and diversify.
There’s also another idea behind reintroducing Calian under a new name and that’s to not be forgotten.
“We work in Ottawa and if you think about Ottawa and publicly traded companies in Ottawa, Shopify just had a huge initial public offering,” says Ford. “We have to recognize that when you’ve been around for a while, sometimes the newer companies get all the air time, the whole kit and that’s great. They deserve it, but we just want to make sure that we aren’t getting lost in that noise.”