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Anexo Group’s increased collections lead to milestone of net cash generation

Anexo Group plc (LON:ANX), the specialist integrated credit hire and legal services provider, has reported Interim Results for the six months ended 30 June 2020.  The Board is pleased to report that the Group has attained its target of net cash generation throughout the period. This milestone has been achieved against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic which, despite the Group’s two core divisions remaining fully operational throughout, has inevitably affected performance in the latter part of H1 2020. In particular, the number of vehicles on the road fell sharply as the UK went into lockdown, but has since recovered to exceed recent peaks. Anexo has continued to invest in its business and the Board is confident in the outcome for FY 2020.

Financial Highlights

 H1 2020H1 2019Movement 
Revenue£36.6 million£36.7 million-0.3%
Adjusted operating profit1£7.8 million£11.8 million-33.9%
Adjusted profit before tax1,2£6.7 million£10.8 million-38.0%
Net assets£103.9 million£82.9 million+25.4%
Cash collection£48.0 million£36.6 million+30.9%
Basic EPS4.5 pence7.6 pence-40.7%

· Net cash inflow from operating activities of £6.2 million (H1 2019: net cash inflow £2.5 million)

· Overall net cash inflow (excluding the recent fundraise) of £2.4 million (H1 2019: net cash outflow £7.0 million)

· Significant reduction in cash absorbed into working capital reducing from £13.0 million in H1 2019 to £4.5 million in H1 2020, supporting the cash generative nature of the Group during the period

· Overall reduction of £4.0 million in adjusted operating profit, largely as a result of investment in staff to drive settlements and cash receipts in FY 2021 (£2.6 million), investment in the VW case acquisition (£0.7 million) and office and IT costs associated with the headcount increase (£0.5 million)

· Proposed interim dividend of 0.5p per share (H1 2019: 1 penny per share)

· Net debt balance at 30 June 2020 stood at £19.6 million (30 June 2019: net debt of £23.4 million)

· The Board expects H2 2020 underlying profit before tax (before investment in VW emissions case acquisition) to recover strongly

1 Adjusted results exclude share based payments.

2 After expenditure of £4.0m on staff expansion, VW case acquisition and associated costs

Operational Highlights

· Anexo has attained its target of net cash generation throughout the period in line with the strategy set out at IPO

· Successful Placing in May 2020 to raise £7.0 million to expand the advocacy and specialist litigation team with specific emphasis on funding the acquisition and processing of VW emissions cases and support opening of new office in Leeds in FY 2020

· The Group raised an additional £2.1 million from a litigation funder to allow capital to continue to be deployed into client acquisition in relation to the VW emissions case without detracting from our core business. The Group has further increased its capital base with £5.0 million drawn from the Governments CBILS scheme in July 2020

· The COVID 19 impact on activity levels in the Credit Hire division was particularly evident in H1 2020 and affected revenue generation, but the number of the Group’s vehicles on the road as we enter the second half of the year is ahead of our own internal targets and currently stands at 1,575 vehicles as at 12 August 2020

· As anticipated, as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic there was a reduction in settlement efficiency for the Legal Services division as staff were transitioned to working from home. This, combined with the costs associated with opening the second floor within the Bolton office and associated staff investment and recruitment, have led to both a reduction in cash receipts and fee income and an increased cost base

· As high-quality new lawyers reach case maturity and staff return to the office Anexo expects a return to previous efficiencies and increases in settlements and cash collections in H2 2020

KPIs H1 2020H1 2019Movement
Number of vehicles on hire at the period end1,3801,571-12.2%
Average number of vehicles on hire for the period1,2861,496-14.0%
Completed vehicle hires2,9533,363-12.2%
Number of hire cases settled2,6222,066+26.9%
Cash collections from settled cases (£’000s)47,96136,628+30.9%
Number of new cases funded3,0253,392-10.8%
Legal staff employed at period end450344+30.8%
Number of senior fee earners at period end137109+25.7%
Average number of senior fee earners13498+36.7%

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

“I am pleased to report that Anexo has hit its target of becoming cash generative in the period. As we set out at IPO in 2018, our strategy was to invest and expand the Group’s Legal Services division in order to increase the number of cases settled and therefore boost cash collections and maximise the value from the extensive back log of cases in our portfolio. Our ability to deliver on the strategy sends a clear message about Anexo’s ability to deliver results to our shareholders, and will give confidence in the Group as we look to expand our unique business model and make the most of the significant market opportunity.

“The COVID 19 pandemic has undoubtedly impacted the Group in the first six months of the year, but as we see activity levels for our Credit Hire division returning to normal, and the case portfolio of our expanded Legal Services division matures and case settlement efficiency improves, we are confident that both revenue generation and earnings growth should return in the second half.

“As we continue to offer dividends to our shareholders and reinstate market guidance, we look forward to the future with confidence.”

Analyst meeting

A conference call for analysts only will be held at 09.30am today, 13 August 2020.  A copy of the Interim Results presentation is available at the Group’s website: https://www.anexo-group.com/ . Please contact Buchanan if you would like to join the call.

An audio webcast of the conference call with analysts will be available after 12pm today: https://webcasting.buchanan.uk.com/broadcast/5f0eccdb4c167c121579686c 

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