Strong Data Sales Jolt AND International Publishers N.V. Profits

By Joe Francica

Recently, AND (Automotive Navigation Data) International Publishers N.V., a Rotterdam-based company, announced strong earnings for its digital mapping and data products. The company ended the 2008 financial year with after-tax profits of €1,332,000 (US$1,764,495), even though sales had declined more than 20%. The company also forecasted growth for 2009 to be five times that of 2008. It has also recently signed a license agreement with a large U.S. company for the use of its maps of Western Europe. Editor in Chief Joe Francica interviewed AND's CEO Maarten Oldenhof about his company's strong results.

Joe Francica (JF): To what do you attribute the strong organic growth in company sales over this period when all other sectors of the economy seem to be contracting?

Maarten Oldenhof (MO):
AND [Automotive Navigation Data] notices a continued growth in the development of location-based services. This is mainly due to the strong growth in smartphones. Big players in the online market try to capture users on the mobile Internet through location-based services. AND is the only independent mapping company and we have profited from these developments by signing a contract with a big U.S. company.

Currently, there are about 80 million GPS enabled phones; in 2014 there will be around 1 billion. As a consequence, many developers are developing location enabled applications which are sold in the popular app stores. This is very good news for an independent mapmaker such as AND, as you need a map for a geo intelligent application.

JF: In what areas, such as LBS or other mobile applications, are you projecting an increase in sales? Is this unique to the European market or are you finding this true in other geographic regions?

We expect big players in the online, mobile and wireless market to try to capture a position on the mobile Internet through location-based services. We think most of these companies will be U.S. companies trying to capture the consumers in the U.S. and Europe. This will be by applications such as navigation, child finders, local weather, etc. Everyday questions will be answered, such as: Can we do a barbeque at a certain location taking the weather forecast into account? Are some of my buddies in town to have a beer? Where is my child?

AND wants to make these applications possible by offering our maps for a fixed price, independent from the application developed.

JF: Has AND seen a growth in the fleet and logistics markets (higher ROI) and is the longer-term trend predicted to be as robust, given that the decline in fuel prices may be short-lived?

AND has had, traditionally, a lot of clients in the fleet and logistics markets. We see the big growth in the online, mobile and wireless markets. We do not notice any changes in the fleet and logistics market at this moment due to the fact that mapping is more and more available. Also, as a result of the economic crisis it is difficult to predict how robust the fleet and logistics market is.

JF: Can you explain more about your partnership with OpenStreetMap? How are you leveraging the relationship to support AND's long-term objectives for revenue growth?

AND donated digital maps of the Netherlands to OpenStreetMap in 2007. Since then the OSM community has added a lot of detail to this map, such as pedestrian areas, cycle paths, etc. With the donation, AND recognized the power of a community and the Web 2.0 developments. We call this Map 2.0, another example of this is AND Map 2.0.

JF: Explain more about your strategy to augment your flagship products. How will you grow the attribution for these data sets and what additional location-based data products do you expect to introduce to the market?

Our goal is to cover the world in high detail, not to add more attributes to our current navigation maps. AND already offers a world base map, however we want to bring this map up to street level. Our first step is to complete Western Europe.

JF: Do you view AND as a data company or an information company, and why?

AND is provider of digital mapping data. The market sees us as a data company, but operationally we are driven by information. For making these maps we develop our own tools to produce each individual country.

Published Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Written by Joe Francica

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