Latest Results

Final Results

“Record results in line with expectations; increased capacity leading to strong cash generation”

 

Anexo Group plc (AIM: ANX), the specialist integrated credit hire and legal services provider, announces its final results for the year ended 31 December 2019 (the ‘period’ or ‘FY 2019’).

Financial Highlights

  • Revenue increased by 39% to £78.5 million (2018: £56.5 million)
  • Operating profit reported at £24.6 million (2018: £15.4 million), an increase of 60%
  • Adjusted1 operating profit before exceptional items in line with market expectations, rising by 47% to £25.2 million (2018: £17.2 million)
  • Adjusted1 operating profit margin increased to 32.2% (2018: 30.4%)
  • Profit before tax of £22.4 million (2018: £14.3 million), an increase of 57%
  • Adjusted1 profit before tax and exceptional items increased to £23.1 million, (2018: £16.1 million), an increase of 43%
  • Adjusted2 basic EPS at 17.0 pence (2018: 12.0 pence)
  • Proposed final dividend of 0.5p per share giving a total dividend for the year of 1.5 pence per share (2018: 1.5 pence per share)
  • Net assets reported at £91.7 million (2018: £75.8 million) representing an increase of 21%
  • Significant reduction in net cash outflows from operating activities which reached £0.8 million in 2019 (2018: net cash outflow: £7.9 million)
  • Net debt balance at 31 December 2019 was £27.7 million (31 December 2018: £17.3 million)

Note: The basis of preparation of the consolidated financial statements for the current and previous year is set out in the Financial Review.

  1. Adjusted operating profit and profit before tax: excludes the costs of Admission to AIM in 2018 and share‑based payment charges in 2018 and 2019. A reconciliation to reported (IFRS) results is included in the Financial Review.
  2. Adjusted EPS: adjusted PBT less tax at statutory rate divided by the number of shares on a pro forma basis, i.e. assuming that the number of shares in issue immediately post-IPO were in issue through the entire comparative period.

Financial and Operational KPIs

  • During 2019 the Group has seen significant improvements in a number of key performance measures (detailed below).  These have resulted in a significant reduction in the level of cash absorbed by the Group in the second half versus the first half of the year.  Despite this reduction in cash consumption, the number of claims instigated during the period increased from 3,392 in H1 2019 to 3,567 in H2 2019.  The Group’s investment in the number of senior fee earners also increased, rising from 89 at the end of 2018 to 109 at the end of H1 2019 and reaching 127 at the end of 2019.
  • Most notably the number of cases settled increased during 2019 as the Group’s investment in legal staff started to bear fruit.  Cases settled rose from 2,066 in H1 2019 to 2,872 in H2 2019 (an increase of 39.0%). The Group anticipates further growth in 2020 as the case portfolio of the new recruits matures.

KPI's

20192018% movement

Total revenues (£’000s)

78,510

56,505

+38.9%

Gross profit (£’000s)

62,807

40,337

+55.7%

Adjusted operating profit * (£000’s)

25,250

17,169

+47.1%

Adjusted operating profit margin* (%)

32.2%

30.4%

+5.9%

Vehicles on hire at the year-end (no)

1,308

1,531

-14.6%

Average vehicles on hire for the year (no)

1,454

1,155

+25.9%

Number of hire cases settled

4,938

3,710

+33.1%

Cash collections from settled cases (£’000s)

84,140

58,100

+44.8%

New cases funded (no)

6,959

5,930

+17.4%

Senior fee earners at period end (no)

127

89

+42.7%

Average number of senior fee earners (no)

111

76

+46.1%

Commenting on the Final Results, Alan Sellers, Executive Chairman of Anexo Group plc, said:

“I am pleased to report another year of financial and operational progress across Anexo as our focus on driving cash generation yields positive results.  In 2019 we successfully grew our high quality legal team, allowing us to increase the number of cases settled and improve the working capital position of the Group.

“Our core business continues to be focused on the ever-increasing opportunities identified in the UK credit hire market, but the Board is also optimistic about the future outcome of our specialist advocacy team’s work on behalf of claimants in the VW emissions case, particularly with the support of the additional funding provided by the Group’s Placing in May 2020.

“We started the year well with high levels of cash collection continuing, and the Board is pleased to confirm that in the first four months of the year our credit hire operation was net cash positive.  This is a key milestone for the Group. Looking forward, we are also conscious of the future uncertainty shaped by the current COVID-19 pandemic. Both our business divisions have remained fully operational throughout the past few months and the Group has demonstrated considerable resilience. Nevertheless, we continue to believe it is too early to provide forward looking financial guidance at this time.

“The Board remains confident of the Group’s capacity for organic growth and, given the resilience of our business and our strong financial position, believes Anexo is well positioned to weather the current storm and deliver near-term profitable growth to our shareholders. The Board is delighted to propose a dividend of 0.5p.”

Analyst Briefing

A conference call for analysts will be held at 10.30am today, 29 June 2020.  A copy of the Final Results presentation is available at the Group's website: https://www.anexo-group.com/  

https://webcasting.buchanan.uk.com/broadcast/5ee2345d5e278421d06982b7

Chairman's Statement

On behalf of the Board, I am pleased to report another year of strong financial and operational performance from the Group.  These results reflect our emphasis on driving cash generation through increased case settlements and more efficient use of working capital. We believe that our expanded platform provides the Group with excellent prospects for 2020 and beyond.

Group Performance

Anexo delivered a record performance across all key Group financial metrics and KPIs in 2019. Trading continued strongly throughout the year and has exceeded initial expectations. Both the Credit Hire and Legal Services divisions performed robustly, generating high levels of revenue growth. As a result, Group revenues in 2019 increased by 38.9% to £78.5 million (2018: £56.5 million) and adjusted profit before tax for the period increased by 43% to £23.1 million (2018: £16.1 million). This adjusted profit before tax figure is in line with current market expectations following a series of upgraded forecasts during the course of the year.

2019 was always intended to be a year in which we invested in the Legal Services division, whilst restraining growth within the Credit Hire division. Implementation of this strategy has contributed to a significant reduction in the level of cash absorption during 2019. This reduced from £7.0 million in the first half of the year to £1.5 million in the second half.  We were particularly pleased with our performance in the second half as during that period we invested c£1.0 million in engaging with prospective claimants in the VW emissions case, part of a global class action which is likely to develop further during the course of this year. When this investment is excluded, the Group has reached the landmark inflexion point from cash absorption to cash generation within our core business, an achievement of which the Board is very proud.

Credit Hire division

Following the Group’s listing in June 2018, a portion of the funds raised at IPO was used to expand the fleet. Since then, focus has been primarily on expanding the legal services business with the aim of driving the Group towards increased cash generation. As part of this strategy, growth in the credit hire fleet has been restrained and consequently the number of vehicles on hire reduced during 2019, reaching 1,308 at the end of 2019, a reduction of 223 or 14.6% on the prior year. The cap on investment in fleet expansion has had the effect of reducing the level of cash settlements required to reach an inflexion point and result in net cash generation.

Given the fleet increase during 2018 and therefore an increase in the average fleet over the year compared to 2018, Credit Hire revenue increased by 40.9%, rising from £34.0 million in 2018 to £48.0 million in 2019. Profit before tax in the Credit Hire division rose by 64% to £17.9 million (2018: £10.9 million). The Group continues to monitor its fleet size and retains the capacity to respond quickly and deploy additional vehicles according to the Group’s strategic priorities.

Legal Services division

As previously noted, 2019 was largely focused on developing capacity within Bond Turner, our legal services business. The expanded capacity at Bond Turner has been supported by the opening of the Bolton office in December 2018. Recruitment in Bolton has progressed better than expected, both in terms of the number and quality of the highly skilled and experienced litigators we have been able to recruit. In fact, the level of quality recruitment exceeded initial expectations and we have now taken a second floor in Bolton to allow the Group to continue the investment in staff. As a result, we have increased the number of senior fee earners within the Group from 89 at the end of 2018 to 127 at 31 December 2019, an increase of almost 43% during the year.

As announced post-period end in January 2020, following the extremely successful opening of the Bolton office, the Group intends to open a new office in Leeds. Significant additional investment is planned during 2020, further enhancing the settlement capacity of the Group and ultimately the level of cash recovered from our significant portfolio of cases.  In addition to increasing legal capacity to further settlement rates, the Group has invested in other cases where we have identified opportunities to utilise Bond Turner’s expertise. One of these opportunities has resulted in an investment of c£935,000 in 2019 into the VW emissions claims case. This is a developing class action being heard globally with significant progress towards resolution expected in late 2020 or early 2021. We note that whilst we have invested significant value into the generation and management of those claims, all costs have been written off as incurred in line with our conservative income recognition policies.

Revenues for the Legal Services division, which strongly converts to cash, showed an increase of 35.9%, reaching £30.5 million in 2019 (2018: £22.5 million). Notwithstanding the significant investment made during 2019 in staff, property and IT infrastructure, profit before tax increased slightly to £5.9 million in 2019 (2018: £5.9 million). The Board considers this an excellent achievement, given these circumstances. ;The Board is pleased to report that during 2019 the Group secured a comprehensive protocol agreement with a major insurer, which establishes parameters around specific settlement terms and timelines.

VW Emissions Case

A specialist team within the Group's Legal Services division is acting on behalf of a number of individuals who have registered their intention to pursue a claim against Volkswagen AG (“VW”) and its subsidiaries (the “VW Emissions case”). The Group is currently actively engaged on approximately 8,000 cases following a limited marketing campaign in late 2019 which was predominantly conducted through social media channels, the costs of which have been written off as incurred.

The Board believes that, in the event of a settlement, the percentage of potential damages and associated costs accruing to the Group would have a significant positive impact on the Group's expectations for profits and cash flow for the relevant accounting period. Any revenue from a settlement would be unlikely to accrue until FY2021 at the earliest. There is no certainty that a settlement in favour of the Group's clients will be reached, nor is there any guarantee that such a settlement would include financial compensation. The Board believes that there is an opportunity to increase significantly the number of claims handled through investment in a further targeted marketing campaign, as well as additional staff to process these leads, which would lead to a significantly larger return in the event of a successful settlement. Further investment is planned in 2020 to enhance the number of clients for whom the Group is engaged.

Dividends

The Board is pleased to propose a final dividend of 0.5p per share which, if approved at the Annual General Meeting to be held on 22 July 2020, will be paid on 21 August 2020 to those shareholders on the register at the close of business on 31 July 2020. The shares will become ex-dividend on 30 July 2020. An interim dividend of 1.0 penny per share was paid on 23 October 2019 and that combined with the final dividend takes the total dividend for the year to 1.5 pence per share (2018: 1.5 pence per share).

Corporate Governance

Anexo values corporate governance highly and the Board believes that effective corporate governance is integral to the delivery of the Group’s corporate strategy, the generation of shareholder value and the safeguarding of our shareholders’ long-term interests.

As Chairman, I am responsible for the leadership of the Board and for ensuring its effectiveness in all aspects of its role. The Board is responsible for the Group’s strategic development, monitoring and achievement of its business objectives, oversight of risk and maintaining a system of effective corporate governance. I will continue to draw upon my experience to help ensure that the Board delivers maximum shareholder value.

Our employees and stakeholders

The strong performance of the Group reflects the dedication and quality of the Group’s employees.  We rely on the skills, experience and commitment of our team to drive the business forward.  Their enthusiasm, innovation and performance remain key assets of the Group and are vital to its future success.  On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank all of our employees, customers, suppliers, business partners and shareholders for their continued support over the last year.

COVID-19 Update

The health and wellbeing of our people and clients is paramount, and steps have been taken to allow our staff to be able to work on an agile basis in order to follow social distancing, lockdown and self-isolation measures and to mitigate the impact on client service.

Bond Turner, the Group's Legal Services division, has moved most of its staff to remote working and continues to be fully operational.  The progression and settlement of cases is being aided by moves from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), supported by the Judiciary, to allow the remote operation of courts through online and telephone hearings.

Within EDGE, the Group's Credit Hire division, vehicles continue to be delivered and collected by staff who are protected in line with government guidelines.  All returned vehicles are valeted as a matter of course before being allocated to a new customer and comprehensive cleaning procedures are being rigorously enforced.

The Group's operations are categorised as essential businesses and as such are exempted from current government restrictions. Its businesses supply and service a broad range of customers who are involved in a non-fault accident and who would otherwise be unable to access the mobility they need.  Among these, the Group provides replacement vehicles to many key workers, including couriers (who are increasingly active during the current circumstances) and other customers such as doctors, nurses, schoolteachers, nursery staff, emergency workers and supermarket personnel.

Current Trading and Outlook

Following the decision to drive an increase in case settlements relative to new cases and thus achieve an increase in cash collections, the Board is pleased to confirm that cash collections have continued to grow and that the credit hire operation has been net cash generative for the first four months of 2020.  This milestone has been achieved as a direct consequence of the Board's strategy in 2019 to focus on investment in the legal services division and to hold back growth in credit hire numbers to support the transition to cash generation.  As announced on 28 January 2020, monthly cash collections during H2-2019 consistently exceeded the levels achieved in H1-2019, and the Board is pleased to announce that monthly cash collections for the first four months of 2020 have continued this pattern.

Group trading for FY-2020 to date has been impacted to some extent by the effects of COVID-19 as the number of vehicles on the road declined immediately post lockdown and we saw a reduction in cash collections as our legal staff transitioned to working from home.  However, the results for the first four months of FY-2020 have been in line with revised management expectations.  As the lockdown has been gradually lifted and our legal staff have become more used to working from home activity levels within the Credit Hire division and cash collections have been increasing.  Nonetheless, there must remain uncertainty as to the eventual impact over an extended period of time.  Whilst there will inevitably be fewer vehicles on the road whilst government restrictions remain in place, key workers (who form a significant proportion of the Group's customers) and other road users will continue to require the services of the Group.  The Group's policy of driving cash generation remains a key focus and the progression of its significant caseload portfolio by litigators within Bond Turner is being fully maintained following the successful transition to remote working.

The current situation is unprecedented and the overall economic impact is currently unknown.  While the Board is encouraged by the resilience shown by the Group and its employees to date, the impact on FY-2020 cannot as yet be fully assessed.  Accordingly, the Board believes it would be inappropriate to provide forward looking financial guidance to investors and analysts at this time.

The Group has a strong balance sheet with a conservative gearing level and good liquidity which have been recently improved following the successful placing of 6.0 million new ordinary shares raising £7.5 million for the Company before expenses. The Group has headroom within its funding facilities, which include a revolving credit facility of £8.0 million with HSBC Bank plc and an invoice discounting facility of £18.5 million with Secure Trust Bank plc. The Group has recently secured a £2.1 million lending facility from a litigation funder to support the proposed investment in the VW emissions case as well as a term loan from Secure Trust Bank plc of £5.0 million under the government backed CBILS scheme to further enhance headroom.

With the lockdown being gradually relaxed, vehicles on the road rising and efficiencies improving as the legal teams become more accustomed to home working practices, the Board remains confident that the Group is in a strong financial position and is well placed to weather the current worldwide uncertainty and to take advantage of further opportunities in a more stable future environment.

Alan Sellers
Executive Chairman

29 June 2020

Financial Review

Basis of Preparation

As previously reported, Anexo Group Plc was incorporated on 27 March 2018 and acquired its subsidiaries on 15 June 2018, then being admitted to AIM on 20 June 2018 (the ‘IPO’).  In order to provide an understanding of the trading performance of the Group, comparative numbers have been presented on a basis consistent with the Group being fully incorporated throughout 2018 and 2019.  Further details are included within the accounting policies.

In addition, to provide comparability across reporting periods, the results within this Financial Review are presented on an “underlying” basis, adjusting for the £1.4 million cost of the IPO transaction, the £0.4 million charge recorded for share-based payments in 2018 and the £0.7m charge for share-based payments in 2019.

A reconciliation between underlying and reported results is provided at the end of this Financial Review. This Financial Review also incorporates and constitutes the Strategic Report of the Group.

New Accounting Standards

A new accounting standard has been issued, IFRS 16 Leases, which replaced IAS 17 Leases, effective from 1 January 2019.  The new standard has fundamentally altered the classification and measurement of operating leases for lessees, removing the distinction between operating and finance leases. The standard has been adopted in the consolidated financial statements for the first time.

A reconciliation between the reported results for the year ended 31 December 2019, having been adjusted for IFRS 16, and before the adjustment is provided at note 28 of the Annual Report.  As the Group has applied the modified retrospective approach there are no adjustments to the results reported for the year ended 31 December 2018, which continue to be reported under IAS 17.

Revenue

In 2019 Anexo successfully increased revenues across both its divisions, Credit Hire and Legal Services, resulting in Group revenues of £78.5 million, representing a 38.9% increase over the prior year (2018: £56.5 million).

During 2019 EDGE, the Credit Hire division, provided vehicles to 7,182 individuals (2018: 5,215) an increase of 37.7%.  Much of this growth has arisen within the motorcycle division of our business, which operates under the McAMS brand name. Following the strategic decision to expand this division, the number of motorcycle claims increased from 2,923 in 2018 to 4,475 in 2019, an increase of 1,552 (53.0%).  As part of our continued investment in the motorcycle community, our sponsorship of the McAMS Yamaha team in the British Superbike Championship continued into 2019.  The McAMS strategy reflects the fact that, on average, a motorcycle claim has a take-on cost significantly less than that of a car, allowing the Group to deploy its resources into the most valuable claims, growing revenues whilst preserving working capital.

This strategy resulted in revenues for the Credit Hire division increasing to £48.0 million in 2019, an increase of 40.9% over 2018 (£34.0 million).

Having invested heavily in fleet and infrastructure in 2018, the focus for 2019 has been primarily on cash collection.  Investment within the Legal Services division in senior staff and property has had a significant impact on the financial performance of the division.  Revenue growth within the Legal Services division in 2019 reached 35.9%, with revenues rising from £22.5 million in 2018 to £30.5 million.

Expansion of headcount in Bond Turner has been critical to increasing both revenues and cash settlements within the Group and the opening of the Bolton Office in December 2018 provided a crucial platform for growth in both factors. By the end of December 2018, we employed 267 staff in Bond Turner, of which 89 were senior fee earners.  This figure rose to 442 staff at the end of December 2019, including 127 senior fee earners (an increase of 42.7%), significantly improving cash collections.  We expect this trend to continue into 2020 reflecting our business model and collection timeline.

Gross Profits

Gross profits are reported at £62.8 million (at a margin of 80.0%) in 2019, increasing from £40.3 million in 2018 (at a margin of 71.4%).  Of the reported year on year increase (£22.5 million or 55.7%), some £3.5 million is the result of IFRS 16, where the costs associated with the vehicle fleet are included within cost of sales in 2018 but replaced with a depreciation charge and interest cost in 2019.  Excluding this adjustment, the gross profit for 2019 would have been £59.3 million (at a margin of 75.5%), a level above that of 2018.

It should be noted, furthermore, that staffing costs within Bond Turner are reported within Administrative Expenses. Consequently, gross profit within Bond Turner is in effect being reported at 100%.

Gross profits for the Credit Hire division reached £34.3 million in 2019 (at a margin of 71.4%) rising from £19.9 million in 2018 (at a margin of 58.5%).  The increase reflects the impact of IFRS 16 (margin would have been 64.0% pre IFRS 16), reflecting both our strategy for claims acceptance which seeks to maximise value from our available working capital facilities, as well as savings achieved within our fleet insurance premiums.

Operating Costs

Administrative expenses before exceptional items increased year-on-year, reaching £31.0 million in 2019 (2018: £21.6 million), an increase of £9.3 million (43.2%).  This reflects the continued investment in staffing costs within Bond Turner to drive settlement of cases and cash collections.  Staffing costs increased to £13.5 million (2018: £8.7 million), an increase of £4.8 million.  The balance of the increase reflects investment in marketing, staff and infrastructure to allow the Group to meet its growth aspirations, as well as its requirements and responsibilities as a PLC.

EBITDA

Adjusted EBITDA reached £31.9 million in 2019, increasing from £18.7 million in 2018 (70.6%).  The result, as previously announced, was ahead of initial management expectations and in line with recent market forecasts.  EBITDA, as with gross profit, is also impacted by IFRS 16 and in order to provide a direct comparison between 2018 and 2019 we have provided a complete reconciliation of the primary statements in the Annual Report, which highlights the impact of IFRS 16 on the reported results.  Excluding the adjustments for IFRS 16 adjusted EBITDA for 2019 would be £27.6 million.

To provide a better guide to the underlying business performance, adjusted EBITDA excludes share-based payment charges, professional and other costs charged to the profit and loss account along with depreciation, interest and tax from the measure of profit.

The GAAP measure of the profit before interest and tax was £24.6 million (2018: £15.4 million) reflecting the non-cash share-based payment charge of £0.7 million (2018: £0.4 million) as well as the professional and other fees arising from the listing in 2018 (£1.4 million).  Where we have provided adjusted figures, they are after the add-back of these two items and a reconciliation of the underlying and reported results is included on page 22 of the Annual Report.

EPS and Dividend

Statutory basic EPS is 16.4 pence (2018: 10.4 pence).  Statutory diluted EPS is 16.0 pence (2018: 10.2 pence).  The adjusted EPS is 17.0 pence (2018: 12.0 pence).  The adjusted diluted EPS is 16.6 pence (2018: 11.8 pence).  The adjusted figures exclude the effect of share-based payments and the fees associated with the listing in 2018.  The detailed calculation in support of the EPS data provided above is included within Note 4.

A final dividend of 0.5p per share has been recommended by the Board (2018: 1.5 pence) giving a total dividend for 2019 of 1.5 pence, having paid a dividend of 1.0 penny on 23 October 2019.  This dividend, if approved at the Annual General Meeting to be held on 22 July 2020, will be paid on 21 August 2020 to those shareholders on the Register at the close of business on 31 July 2020.

Group Statement of Financial Position

The Group’s net assets position is dominated by the balances held within trade and other receivables.  These balances include credit hire and credit repair debtors and disbursements paid in advance, and support of ongoing claims.  The value of the receivables totalled £220.5 million in 2019, rising from £165.2 million in 2018. In accordance with our income recognition policies, provision is made to reduce the carrying value to recoverable amounts, being £101.0 million and £76.0 million respectively, an increase of 33.2%.  This increase reflects the recent trading activity and strategy of the Group and is in line with management expectations.  The increase has been primarily funded from the significant increase in cash collections seen year on year.

In addition, the Group has a total of £24.4 million reported as accrued income (2018: £22.5 million) which represents the value attributed to those ongoing hires and claims.

Further investment has been made in 2019 into the motorcycle fleet as well as the fit out of the two floors at the new Bolton office, with total fixed asset additions totalling £3.1 million in 2019 (2018: £3.5 million).  The fleet continues to be partly financed with hire purchase.  The application of IFRS 16 has impacted the Group’s Statement of Financial Position, resulting in the recognition of right of use assets of £7.8 million at the end of 2019 along with associated lease liabilities of £8.2 million, the net impact on net assets being £0.3 million.

Trade and other payables, including tax and social security increased to £7.9 million compared to £7.2 million at 31 December 2018, an increase of 9.0% as additional cash receipts have been utilised to reduce short term payables.

Net assets at 31 December 2019 reached £91.7 million (2018: £75.8 million).

Cash Flow

During 2018, the Group utilised the funds raised from the AIM listing, alongside increases in debt facilities, to take advantage of the opportunities in the market and increase the number of vehicles on the road.  2019 has seen a shift in focus to cash generation, as the Group has held back on growth within the Credit Hire division and focussed investment on the Legal Services division where we have seen a significant investment in the number of senior staff engaged to settle cases and recover cash for the Group.  The number of senior fee earners increased from 89 to 127 during 2019 (an increase of 42.7%) and continues to rise.  The Group’s success in recruiting high quality staff, which significantly exceeded management expectations, led to the leasing of a further floor (approximately 10,000 square feet) within the Bolton office in October 2019.

Cash collections for the Group (and excluding settlements for our clients), a key metric for the Group, increased from £58.1 million in 2018 to £84.1 million in 2019, an increase of 44.8%.  This is a significant improvement, given the fact that many of the new recruits will not reach settlement maturity until 2020, at which point it is anticipated that the real financial benefits to the Group will come through.

The number of vehicles on the road was strategically managed during 2019 so as to preserve working capital, the focus being on securing the most attractive and profitable claims for the Group whilst minimising take-on costs.  Consequently, the number of vehicles on the road fell during 2019 from 1,531 to 1,308.  Average overall vehicle numbers were, however, higher in 2019, reaching 1,454 (2018: 1,155), contributing to the strong performance of the Credit Hire division.

With the focus firmly on cash collections in 2019, the Group reported a significant reduction in the level of net cash outflow from operating activities, reducing to only £0.8 million (2018: Cash outflow £7.9 million).  The investment made into new cases across both the Credit Hire and Legal Services divisions absorbed a net £26.3 million of funds in 2019 (2018: £20.9 million), this year on year increase being countered by the increased level of cash collections.

With a net cash outflow of £4.8 million resulting from financing activities (2018: new cash inflow of £11.7 million following the listing in that year), the Group has reported a net cash outflow in 2019 of £8.5 million (2018: net cash inflow of £0.5 million).

The improvement not only improved year on year but during 2019, we have reported a significant reduction in the level of cash absorbed by the Group in the second half versus the first half of the year.  This improvement is after an increase in the number of hire claims invested in during the period, (HY1 2019: 3,392, HY2 2019: 3,567) and further investment in the number of senior fee earners which rose from 89 at the end of 2018 to 109 at the end of HY1 2019 and to 127 at the end of 2019.

Most notably the number of hire cases settled increased during 2019 as our investment in legal staff started to pay dividends (we anticipate further growth in 2020 as the case portfolio of the new recruits matures), rising from 2,066 in HY1 2019 to 2,872 in HY2 2019 (an increase of 39.0%).

These movements have contributed to the significant steps we have made during 2019 and as a result the level of cash absorption reduced from £7.0 million in the first half of the year to £1.5 million in the second half of the year.  Cash collections increased from £36.6 million to £47.5 million, an increase of 30% between the first and second half of 2019.  This performance in the second half was even more pleasing as we invested c£935,000 into the VW emissions scandal case.  Excluding this investment, the Group has reached the inflexion point from cash absorption to cash generation, the target we set ourselves for the year.

Consolidated Statement of Total Comprehensive Income
for year ended 31 December 2019

 

  2019 2018  
 Note £’000s £’000s  
     
Revenue 2 78,510  56,505
Cost of sales  (15,703)  (16,168)
Gross profit  62,807  40,337
     
Depreciation & loss on disposal  (2,327)  (1,574)
Depreciation on right of use assets  (4,220)  -
Amortisation  (35)  -
Administrative expenses before exceptional items  (30,975)  (21,594)
Operating profit before exceptional items 3 25,250  17,169
     
Share based payment charge  (657)  (384)
Non-recurring administrative expenses 3 -  (1,411)
Operating profit 3 24,593  15,374
     
Lease finance costs  (401)  -
Finance costs  (1,801)  (1,090)
Net financing expense  (2,202)  (1,090)
     
Profit before tax  22,391  14,284
Taxation  (4,403)  (2,879)
Profit and total comprehensive income for the year attributable to the owners of the company  17,988  11,405
     
Earnings per share     
Basic earnings per share (pence) 4 16.4  10.4
     
Diluted earnings per share (pence) 4 16.0  10.2
     
The above results were derived from continuing operations.

 

Consolidated Statement of Financial Position>
a
s at 31 December 2019

 

  2019 2018
Assets Note £’000s £’000s
Non-current assets     
Property, plant and equipment 5 3,673  3,270
Right of use assets 5 7,821  -
Intangible assets 5 175  -
  11,669  3,270
Current assets     
Trade and other receivables 6 127,768  101,445
Cash and cash equivalents  2,270  5,532
  130,038  106,977
     
Total assets  141,707  110,247
     
Equity and liabilities     
Equity     
Share capital  55  55
Share premium  9,235  9,235
Share based payments reserve  1,041  384
Retained earnings  81,365  66,127
Equity attributable to the owners of the Company  91,696  75,801
     
Non-current liabilities     
Other interest-bearing loans and borrowings 7 393  870
Lease liabilities 7 5,029  -
Deferred tax liabilities  32  -
  5,454  870
     
Current liabilities     
Bank overdraft 7 17,784  12,536
Other interest-bearing loans and borrowings 7 12,144  9,402
Lease liabilities 7 3,124  -
Trade and other payables  7,915  7,223
Corporation tax liability  3,590  4,415
  44,557  33,576
     
Total liabilities  50,011  34,446
     
Total equity and liabilities  141,707  110,247
      

The financial statements were approved by the Board of Directors and authorised for issue on 29 June 2020. They were signed on its behalf by:

 

Mark Bringloe
Chief Financial Officer
29 June 2020

Consolidated Statement of Changes in Equity
for the year ended 31 December 2019

 

 Share
Capital
Share
Premium
Merger
Reserve
Share
Based
Payment
Reserve
Retained
Earnings
Total
 £’000s £’000s £’000s £’000s £’000s £’000s
       
At 1 January 2018 50 40 - - 55,542 55,632
Profit for the year and total comprehensive income - - - - 11,405 11,405
Issue of share capital 5 - - - - 5
Increase in share premium - 9,195 - - - 9,195
Creation of share based payment reserve - - - 384 - 384
Dividends - - - - (820) (820)
       
At 31 December 2018 55 9,235 - 384 66,127 75,801
       
Profit for the year and total comprehensive income - - - - 17,988 17,988
Issue of share capital - - - - - -
Increase in share premium - - - - - -
Creation of share based payment reserve - - - 657 - 657
Dividends - - - - (2,750) (2,750)
       
At 31 December 2019 55 9,235 - 1,041 81,365 91,696
       

 

 

Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows>
for the year ended 31 December 2019

 

  2019 2018
 Note £’000s £’000s
Cash flows from operating activities     
Profit for the year  17,988  11,405
Adjustments for:     
Depreciation and loss on disposal 3 6,547  1,574
Amortisation 5 35  -
Financial expense  2,202  1,090
Taxation  4,403  2,879
  31,175  16,948
Working capital adjustments     
(Increase)/decrease in trade and other receivables  (26,294)  (20,871)
(Decrease)/increase in trade and other payables  1,351  1,828
Cash generated from operations  6,232  (2,095)
     
Interest paid  (1,797)  (1,090)
Tax paid  (5,230)  (4,738)
Net cash from operating activities  (795)  (7,923)
     
Cash flows from investing activities     
Proceeds from sale of property, plant and equipment  374  170
Acquisition of property, plant and equipment  (3,104)  (3,493)
Investment in intangible fixed assets  (210)  -
Net cash from investing activities  (2,940)  (3,323)
     
Cash flows from financing activities     
Net proceeds from the issue of share capital  -  9,235
Proceeds from new loan  13,107  4,016
Repayment of borrowings  (10,920)  (1,931)
Payment of finance lease liabilities  (2,225)  (1,362)
Lease payments  (4,289)  -
New finance lease arrangements  2,302  2,590
Dividends paid  (2,750)  (820)
Net cash from financing activities  (4,775)  11,728
     
Net increase/(decrease) in cash and cash equivalents (8,510)  482
Cash and cash equivalents at 1 January  (7,004)  (7,486)
     
Cash and cash equivalents at 31 December  (15,514)  (7,004)

 

 

Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements
for the year ended 31 December 2019

 

The notes are available in the printable pdf of the results. To download it, please click here

 

Page last updated: 29 June 2020