Anexo Group plc (AIM: ANX), the specialist integrated credit hire and legal services provider, today provides the following update in respect of the Group's FY-2019 audited results, the impact of COVID-19 and the Group's response, and current trading.
- Following FCA and FRC guidance, FY-2019 audited results to be delayed
- FY-2019 PBT in line with expectations and KPIs demonstrate strong performance
- Group has strong balance sheet, conservative gearing and sufficient financial headroom
- FY-2019 dividend payment deferred along with the proposed opening of office in Leeds
Timing of FY-2019 Audited Results
The Group previously announced its intention to release its Final Audited Results for FY-2019 on Tuesday, 21 April 2020. Following the advice published by both the FCA and FRC, and having consulted with its advisers including the Group's auditors, the Group now expects to delay publication of its Final Audited Results until further advice is available. The Group will update with regard to the timing of the publication of its Final Audited Results as soon as possible.
The Board announced on 28 January 2020 that Group profit before tax (adjusted for share based payments) for FY-2019 would be in line with market expectations and there has been no change in this position. In addition to this, the Board is pleased to provide the following KPIs for FY-2019, demonstrating the strong performance and resilient position of the Group:
|Available Fleet Size
|Vehicles on hire at period end
|Average vehicles on hire for the period
|Completed Vehicle Hires
|Cash Collections from Settled Cases (£'000s)
|Legal Staff Employed at Period End
|Senior Fee Earners at Period End
|Average Number of Senior Fee Earners
|New Cases Funded
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 two months of FY-2020. This milestone has been achieved as a direct consequence of the Board's strategy in FY-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 January, February and March of 2020 have continued this pattern.
Group trading for FY-2020 to date has been in line with management expectations, with no apparent adverse effects on the Group's performance due to COVID-19 currently being experienced. 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. 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 Board maintains regular contact with the Group's funding partners, who remain wholly supportive of the business.
In line with the Board's prudent approach to the evolving economic outlook, the payment of any final dividend relating to FY-2019 will be determined later in the year when the outlook for the Group has been considered by the Board and a date for the release of the Final Audited results has been established. Similarly, the payment of certain performance-related cash bonuses due to senior Executive Directors has been deferred pending this review. The Board keeps capital expenditure under constant review and, in the light of the current situation, the proposed opening of the Leeds office, previously announced on 28 January 2020, has been deferred without any lease commitments having been made.
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.
For further enquiries:
|Anexo Group plc
||+44 (0) 151 227 3008
|Alan Sellers, Executive Chairman
Mark Bringloe, Chief Financial Officer
Nick Dashwood Brown, Head of Investor Relations
|Arden Partners plc
(Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker)
|John Llewellyn-Lloyd / Benjamin Cryer (Corporate)
Fraser Marshall (Equity sales)
|+44 (0) 20 7614 5900
Mark Whitmore/Yudith Karunaratna Buchanan
| +44 (0) 20 3207 7800
|Henry Harrison-Topham / Steph Watson
||+44 (0) 20 7466 5000
Notes to Editors:
Anexo is a specialist integrated credit hire and legal services provider. The Group has created a unique business model by combining a direct capture Credit Hire business with a wholly owned Legal Services firm. The integrated business targets the impecunious not at fault motorist, referring to those who do not have the financial means or access to a replacement vehicle.
Through its dedicated Credit Hire sales team and network of 1,100 plus active referrers around the UK, Anexo provides customers with an end-to-end service including the provision of Credit Hire vehicles, assistance with repair and recovery, and claims management services. The Group's Legal Services division, Bond Turner, provides the legal support to maximise the recovery of costs through settlement or court action as well as the processing of any associated personal injury claim.
The Group was admitted to trading on AIM in June 2018 with the ticker ANX.
For additional information please visit: www.anexo-group.com