SimplyBiz reports strong year after April flotation

SimplyBiz, the UK’s largest provider of compliance and business services to financial intermediaries, said it saw a strong performance in 2018.

Neil Stevens, joint chief executive at SimplyBiz

The Huddersfield-based firm said 2018 was a transformational year which saw the group’s successful admission to AIM and continued momentum in its growth strategy.

The group said revenue rose 15 per cent to £50.7m in the year to December 31 and adjusted earnings rose 20 per cent to £11.4m.

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Neil Stevens, joint chief executive, said he was pleased to see good growth in the number of intermediary members. The number of member firms increased by 8.5 per cent to 3,726 in 2018.

The firm floated on AIM in April last year, raising £30m of primary proceeds in an institutional placing.

Mr Stevens said: “We have reduced finance costs and we’ve seen bigger contracts. It’s a lot easier as a listed company.

“We have preserved our firepower to make acquisitions and bigger acquisitions.”

The firm has made eight acquisitions over the years and said that the fragmented market offers lots of opportunities for more deals.

SimplyBiz said retirement and later life planning has never been more important following the arrival of pension freedoms in 2015.

“We have the best pensions technical team in the sector, helping firms with complex calculations,” said Mr Stevens.

Analyst Stuart Duncan at Peel Hunt said: “SimplyBiz has reported a strong set of final results to December 2018.

“Our view is that the group offers investors exposure to many of the favourable trends within the retail financial services sector, with a high quality of recurring income and limited market sensitivity.”

Peel Hunt has issued a ‘buy’ recommendation on the stock and a 215p target price.