Knights, one of the UK's fastest growing legal and professional services businesses, today provides a trading update for the year ended 30 April 2019, ahead of its full year results which will be announced on 9 July 2019.
The Group performed well in the second half of its financial year, with strong organic growth complemented by contributions from acquisitions. As a result, revenue for the full year is expected to be not less than £52.4m, which represents a 50.6% increase compared to the prior year (2018: £34.8m) and reflects 15% organic revenue growth. Adjusted PBT(1) is anticipated to be slightly ahead of market expectations at £9.7m, a 102% increase from the £4.8m reported for the full year ended 30 April 2018.
Cash conversion has been higher than normal, resulting in excellent cash generation and a year end net debt position of £14.1m, which is significantly better than market expectations of £17.8m.
The Group's strong organic growth during the year was in part driven by a successful recruitment drive in the second half of the year, which added to the number of fee earners and leaves us with a strong pipeline of new recruits expected to join in the coming months.
During the year, we made four acquisitions: one of the top corporate law firms by deal volume across the North-West, Turner Parkinson, in June 2018; Leicester's largest independent law firm, Spearing Waite, in October 2018; Leicester-based employment law specialist, Cummins Solicitors, in January 2019; and, one of the leading independent law firms in Oxfordshire, BrookStreet des Roches, which completed in April 2019. All four have now been fully integrated onto Knights' IT systems, are performing well, in line with our expectations, and provide strong platforms from which to grow in their respective regions.
David Beech, CEO of Knights, commented:
"We are pleased to announce this strong performance in our first full year as a listed company on AIM. We continue to deliver on our strategy, both organically and through selective acquisitions, resulting in strong, cash generative, profitable growth.
"Our successful recruitment drive and selective acquisitions during the year also provide us with a strengthened platform delivering high quality services through a results-driven and collaborative culture with more diversified expertise across a broader geographical base. We, therefore, look forward with confidence to the current year and beyond."
(1) before amortisation; non-underlying costs relating to acquisitions, the implementation of associated cost savings and the group's IPO; and share-based payment charges.