OSS Firm Defies Downturn

3:30 PM -- When a telecom vendor, any telecom vendor, notches up a near 15 percent stock hike in one morning, it's worth noting in these troubled days.

So say hello to some smiling faces at OSS vendor Evolving Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: EVOL). And they won't be grinning like mad men just because the company's shares gained 15 cents today to $1.19 -- the company's 2008 results and its order book are also good reasons for some fun-packed facial expressions. (See Evolving Systems Closes '08.)

Now, we're not talking about a big company here: Its 2008 revenues, derived from the sales of various OSS tools (provisioning, activation, mediation, and numbering solutions) totaled $37.8 million. But with 2008 net income at $2.9 million, Evolving is profitable -- and growing.

It says: Its order backlog, at $20.6 million, is its highest since 2004; its balance sheet is stronger following debt repayments and refinancing; and it's seeing "strong customer interest" in its Dynamic SIM Allocation product, for which it is "in the process of securing an additional strategic channel partner… which we believe will significantly expand our reach."

With some momentum behind it, and a 2009 strategy that includes further expansion into the "emerging markets… [which] continue to represent an excellent growth opportunity" because of the ongoing demand for GSM services, Evolving provides hope for the hundreds of other telecom software specialists looking to get through the downturn.

That same success also makes the company a potential takeover target. Evolving's current market capitalization is just $22.5 million, so it's an inexpensive target for a larger company looking to capitalize on its momentum.

The company's management has spotted this and has initiated a defensive move against any unwelcome takeover attempts by adopting a new stockholder rights plan. Evolving, though, states that the plan "was not adopted in response to any unsolicited offer or takeover attempt." (See Evolving Gets Defensive.)

— Ray Le Maistre, Revolving News Editor, Light Reading

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