​Unisys Australia reverses loss to post AU$4m after-tax profit

The local arm of the IT services giant paid AU$1.7 million in tax and returned to black after reporting a AU$3.3 million loss in 2016.

Unisys Australia has announced its financial results for 2017, bouncing back from its 2016 AU$3.3 million loss to report AU$4 million in after-tax profit.

For the 12 months to December 31, 2017, the local chapter recorded AU$5.8 million in pre-tax profit, making a AU$1.7 million payment to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) after being handed a AU$1.3 million income tax benefit for 2016.

With 969 staff members operating the company's Australian business, Unisys told the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) that its primary activities down under include the delivery of "high-performance, security-centric, leveraged services across industries, industry-specific application products, and technology solutions" -- IT services.

"Within services, our principal solutions include cloud and infrastructure services, application services, and business process outsourcing services ... to our primary target markets: Government, commercial, and financial services," the company continued.

Revenue was only marginally up from the previous year, totalling AU$241 million. Revenue for 2016 was AU$237 million.

Services revenue reached AU$223.2 million, while sales revenue was AU$17.8 million for 2017.

In its ASIC filing, current tax was itemised with a value of zero, while deferred tax was listed as AU$2.6 million. Receipts from customers totalled AU$260.5 million for the 12-month period, while payments to suppliers came to AU$247.7 million.

Unisys Australia is a for-profit company limited by shares incorporated in Australia. The immediate parent entity of the company is Unisys Global Holding BV, with the ultimate parent being Unisys Corporation, which owns 100 percent of the ordinary shares.

Unisys Australia paid AU$21.5 million in royalties during 2017 to its parent company.

"In 2017, Unisys Australia, as the head entity of the tax consolidated group, assumed current tax liabilities -- including return to close adjustment -- of AU$2.2 million (2016: AU$2.45 million) from other members of the tax consolidated group in return for compensation receivable under the terms of the tax funding agreement," the company wrote.

The Australian government legislated a new Diverted Profits Tax (DPT) in March last year, which is intended to prevent the practice of multinational organisations shifting profits made in Australia offshore to avoid paying tax.

The DPT will hit multinationals with global revenue of more than AU$1 billion and Australian revenue of greater than AU$25 million with a 40 percent tax on all profits.

The tax is expected to see AU$100 million in revenue per year from 2018-19 stay on Australian soil.

The new legislation mirrors a law implemented in the United Kingdom, which is nicknamed the Google Tax after the search engine giant was ordered to pay the UK government £130 million in back taxes.

See also: ATO stats confirm global giants are coughing up to Canberra

A report from the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) in December revealed the Australian government spent a total of AU$36 billion on IT-related procurement from 2012-13 through 2016-17, with a handful of technology giants receiving the majority of the procurement spend.

Unisys received over AU$300 million from the federal government during the five-year period.

In March last year, Unisys partnered Data61 for the development of a data analytics solution for the automated security risk assessment of travellers and cargo.

"The end goal of this international collaboration is to make border security processes more efficient, cost effective, and safer for countries around the world," Data61 CEO Adrian Turner said at the time. "It's one of the ways Data61 is working with industry to translate data-science -- in this case deep analytics and machine learning -- into a viable product to help deliver economic and societal impact."

While not considered part of the company's 2017 results, Unisys last month picked up a pair of Australian government contracts totalling AU$90 million, with the first to design and implement the Enterprise Biometric Identification Services (EBIS) system that will be used by the Department of Home Affairs to conduct biometric matching on people entering Australia.

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