Hospitality tech business Zonal has celebrated its 40th anniversary by adding £2 million to its research and development spend.

The extra fund brings its total to £6.9m for the Edinburgh family firm, as it announced its annual results with turnover unchanged at £54 million but profits before tax down to £3.7 million from £4 million last year.

The company predicts its sales will top £60 million this financial year because of what it described as a robust sales pipeline.

It said the acquisition of Comtrex Systems Corporation in 2018 had further strengthened the group's customer base and delivered further expansion into North America.

“This is a milestone anniversary for Zonal as we celebrate 40 years since our founder, and my father, Ralph McLean, launched the company after inventing the first hospitality EPoS system for our family hotel,” said Stuart McLean, chief executive of Zonal.

“Since then, technology has changed beyond recognition and so have we as a business, both in terms of size and ambitions.

“We are still a family business that cares passionately about our customers and our employees and we are proud to be leading the way in providing technology solutions for the hospitality industry.”

The company said like-for-like gross margins grew significantly to 70 per cent but that due to the R&D investments net margins were down by 0.4 per cent to seven per cent. Cash balances grew sharply by £5.6 million to £13 million.

Founded in 1979, Zonal recruited more than 100 additional employees during the year, taking its workforce to more than 650 in sites across the UK including Edinburgh, Abingdon, Cardiff and Stafford.

McLean added: “R&D will continue to be a key focus for Zonal as we look to enhance our existing offering and develop brand new products in 2019.

“These are exciting times and we look forward to another 40 years of cutting-edge innovation.”

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