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Universe Group Plc

INTERVIEW: Universe Group Plc Make a strong start to 2018

Universe Group plc (LON:UNG), a leading developer and supplier of point of sale, payment and loyalty systems, has today announced its audited results for the year ended 31 December 2017. CEO Jeremy Lewis talks to DirectorsTalk about the result highlights, shares his thoughts on how the business will grow short and long term, explains the roll out of its next gen EPOS solution and payment terminal Gempay 3, talks more about Rontec and discusses the strategy for the next 12 months.



· Results in line with Trading Update given in November 2017

· Total revenues of £19.62 million (2016: £19.71 million)

· Gross profit margin steady at 47.6%

· Adjusted EBITDA £2.77 million before £0.4 million of exceptional costs (2016: £3.77 million)

· Operating profit £0.88 million (2016: £2.04 million)

· Profit after tax £0.63 million (2016: £1.83 million)

· Statutory diluted earnings per share 0.26p (2016: 0.76p)

· Net cash at year end £1.86 million (31 December 2016: £2.11 million)

· Revenues were affected by the delay of a small number of high value contracts

· Investment made in development teams and enlarging sales teams ahead of major next generation product launches

Andrew Blazye, Non-Executive Chairman of Universe Group Plc, commented: “Universe continued to move forward during 2017 with the production and roll out of our next generation EPOS solution and latest payment terminal, Gempay 3. As reported earlier in the year however, the Group’s financial performance in 2017 was affected by delays in a small number of customer deployments. Our cost base was also intentionally increased as we invested in further technical development activity and sales personnel to assist with our new product launches.

We successfully completed EPOS implementations with major customers, including 70 installations for leading petrol forecourt operator, Rontec. Gempay 3 was launched on time in October 2017 and to date there have been over 1,500 implementations, cementing Gempay’s position as the UK’s leading forecourt payment terminal.

We have had a solid start to 2018 with a two-year contract extension with a large food retailer client as well as the prospect of new business from a major international forecourt operator with whom we have not traded before. Our pipeline remains solid and supports our budgeted turnover, with the exception of the significant uncertainty regarding our contract with Conviviality, which represents approximately £2 million of our pipeline revenue for the current financial year.

Opportunities continue to materialise with existing customers for our next generation EPOS, payment, and loyalty solutions reflecting the strong and loyal relationships we have, and the strength of our products. The take-up of next generation products and feed-back from customers bodes well for the future.”