Anexo Group, the AIM-listed credit hire and legal services business, announced annual results yesterday ahead of market expectations and declared its intention to keep growing the law firm it owns.
It told investors that increasing the headcount at Liverpool-based Bond Turner was “critical to increasing both revenues and cash settlements into the group”.
Group revenues jumped by nearly 25% to £57m in 2018 – the legal services division recorded a 10% rise in revenues to £23m – with adjusted profit before taxation up 10% to £16m.
Anexo raised £25m when it listed last June, and a “significant portion” of this was targeted at increasing capacity within Bond Turner.
It told investors: “This was to facilitate the scaling of the credit hire business whilst improving cash generation.
“The expanded capacity at Bond Turner has been supported by the opening of our new office in Bolton in December 2018, where recruitment has progressed well and the number of highly skilled, vastly experienced litigators continues to grow.”
By the end of 2018, Bond Turner employed 267 staff – 80 more than a year earlier – of whom 89 were senior fee-earners, an increase of 35%.
“With further significant investment planned into FY 2019, these additional staff are expected to provide a significant increase to the number of cases settled during FY 2019 and ultimately the level of cash recovered from our significant portfolio of cases.”
Anexo’s shares listed at 100p and closed yesterday up 5% at 139p, their highest to date.
Executive chairman Alan Sellers said: “Anexo has successfully demonstrated that the cash raised at IPO has enabled the strategic investment outlined upon admission, expanding the credit hire fleet and growing Anexo’s high-quality legal team in order to increase the number of processed claims whilst increasing cash generation from cases settled.
“The investment is clearly supporting near-term profitable growth across the business with the strong financial performance, coupled with the ever-increasing UK credit hire and legal claims market, giving the board confidence in our ability to scale and generate near term returns for our shareholders as demonstrated by the maiden proposed final dividend in line with the Board’s stated intention at admission.
“Anexo remains extremely well positioned to grow its market share and take advantage of the opportunities available to it. The board views the current financial year with considerable optimism.”
Over the year, the number of vehicles available to hire increased 83% to nearly 2,000, and in 2018 Anexo provided vehicles to 5,215 people, an increase of 14% on the year before. Much of this growth was in the motorcycle side of the business.