NCI says it is in the market for an acquisition

February 13

Reston-based technology contractor NCI said Wednesday that it is preparing to start looking for acquisitions after several years of standing pat.

In recent years, the company has been reshaping, including taking on a new president and cutting its staff and facilities to adjust to tightened budgets.

“We’ve really been on the sidelines,” Brian J. Clark, NCI’s president, said in a call with analysts Wednesday. As the company was restructuring, “I’d certainly not view that as a time where it made sense to take management attention away from the internal needs of the business.”

Today, he said, NCI is prepared to get back into buying. On Wednesday, the contractor reported that revenue in 2013 fell nearly 10 percent, to $332.3 million. Its annual profit, however, hit $7.7 million, 60 cents per share, marking a major improvement from a loss of $86.8 million, $6.51 per share, in 2012.

The company attributed its revenue reduction to expiring contracts and lower sales in a major program.

Clark said that NCI will be seeking to buy companies that specialize in anticipated growth areas, including cybersecurity and health information technology.

“I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to complete a deal this year and accelerate our top line as we head into 2015,” he said.

Company executives expressed optimism that 2014 will be a better year, given the budget in place and the increased certainty of federal agencies.

Marco F. de Vito, NCI’s chief operating officer, said that the contractor is starting to see more solicitations, some of which were delayed from last year.

“Those things show us that our clients are ready to commit the funds and are not as reluctant as they were last year,” he said.

Still, he remained cautious. “I would say that the market is stabilizing, and that’s a significant improvement,” he told analysts. “We’re looking forward to the day when we see growth.”

Capital Business is The Post’s weekly publication focusing on the region’s business community.

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