SimplyBiz enjoys earnings leap as integration completes

SimplyBiz, the UK’s largest provider of compliance and business services to financial intermediaries, said the integration of Defaqto has been successfully completed.

Matt Timmins, joint CEO of The SimplyBiz Group

Huddersfield-based SimplyBiz said the enlarged group now serves over 5,800 intermediary firms and over 350 financial institutions, significantly increasing the scale of the group.

In a trading update for the year to December 31, the firm said it delivered 24 per cent revenue growth and 50 per cent adjusted earnings growth.

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Last March, the group bought Defaqto, a leading financial information and technology business, through a debt and equity raise. SimplyBiz said it has grown Defaqto’s organic revenues and adjusted earnings.

The group said it also delivered organic revenue and adjusted earnings growth in 2019.

Matt Timmins, joint CEO of The SimplyBiz Group, said: “We are delighted to have successfully completed the acquisition and integration of Defaqto and welcome these new colleagues into the SimplyBiz Group. The acquisition significantly expands our customer base and breadth of proposition, whilst enhancing the group’s strong and sustainable profit margins.”

He said that trading has continued in line with management’s expectations and the group’s cash generative model has enabled it to repay £7m of debt in the post-acquisition period, further deleveraging the group.

“The group’s consistent and recurring income model, and strong forward revenue visibility, continues to provide the board with confidence and optimism as we enter 2020,” he added.

Analyst Stuart Duncan at Peel Hunt said: “SimplyBiz has concluded a busy year, with trading in line with expectations, cash generation reducing debt and a positive outlook for the coming year.

“We upgrade our target price to 250p, from 225p, and retain our ‘buy’ recommendation.”

SimplyBiz said group net debt stood at £27m at the end of December, broadly in line with management’s expectations, representing a “comfortable” net debt to EBITDA leverage ratio of less than 1.6 times.

The directors said they are confident that the group’s overall performance is broadly in line with expectations and they intend to propose a final dividend to shareholders, in line with the stated dividend policy.