Share Name Share Symbol Market Type Share ISIN Share Description
Christie Group Plc LSE:CTG London Ordinary Share GB0001953156 ORD 2P
  Price Change % Change Share Price Bid Price Offer Price High Price Low Price Open Price Shares Traded Last Trade
  -7.50 -9.43% 72.00 70.00 74.00 78.00 68.50 78.00 85,201 16:19:28
Industry Sector Turnover (m) Profit (m) EPS - Basic PE Ratio Market Cap (m)
Support Services 78.0 4.4 15.3 4.7 19

Christie Group PLC Final Results

04/09/2020 7:00am

UK Regulatory (RNS & others)

Christie (LSE:CTG)
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From Aug 2020 to Oct 2020

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RNS Number : 0092Y

Christie Group PLC

04 September 2020

4 September 2020

Christie Group plc

Preliminary results for the 12 months ended 31 December 2019

Christie Group plc ('Christie Group' or the 'Group'), the leading provider of Professional & Financial Services and Stock & Inventory Systems & Services to the hospitality, leisure, healthcare, medical, childcare & education and retail sectors, is pleased to announce its audited preliminary results for the 12 months ended 31 December 2019.

Key points:

   --      Revenue growth of 2.6% to GBP78.0m (2018: GBP76.1m) 
   --      Operating profit up by 41.3% to GBP5.8m (2018: GBP4.1m) 
   --      Earnings per share improved by 36.2% to 15.30p per share (2018: 11.23p per share) 
   --      Strong performance for the PFS division with operating profit of GBP6.2m (2018 GBP5.6m) 
   --      Concluded highly successful Wyevale garden centre disposal 
   --      Poor retail stocktaking result. Business restructure commenced 
   --      Record year for the hospitality stocktaking business 
   --      Final dividend nil to give a total for the year of 1.25p per share (2018 3.0p per share) 
   --      Strong cash generation in the year and ended year with a healthy cash balance 

Commenting on the results, David Rugg, Chairman and Chief Executive of Christie Group said:

"2019 was another positive year for Christie Group amidst the prevailing Brexit uncertainty. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has since caused us to re-assess our plans and expectations for 2020. The steps taken across the group in recent months has put the Group in position for the recovery that is now underway. Each of our services remain in demand. We therefore view our future with cautious optimism."


 Christie Group plc 
 David Rugg 
  Chairman and Chief Executive    020 7227 0707 
 Daniel Prickett 
  Chief Operating Officer         020 7227 0700 
   Simon Hawkins 
   Group Finance Director           020 7227 0700 
 Shore Capital 
  Antonio Bossi 
  Nominated Adviser & Broker        020 7408 4090 

Notes to Editors:

Christie Group plc (CTG.L), quoted on AIM, is a leading professional business services group with 42 offices across the UK and Europe, catering to its specialist markets in the hospitality, leisure, healthcare, medical, childcare & education and retail sectors.

Christie Group operates in two complementary business divisions: Professional & Financial Services (PFS) and Stock & Inventory Systems & Services (SISS). These divisions trade under the brand names: PFS - Christie & Co, Pinders, Christie Finance and Christie Insurance: SISS - Orridge, Venners and Vennersys.

Tracing its origins back to 1846, the Group has a long-established reputation for offering essential services to client companies in agency, valuation services, investment, consultancy, project management, multi-functional trading systems and online ticketing services, stock audit and inventory management. The diversity of these services provides a natural balance to the Group's core agency business.

The information contained within this announcement is deemed by the Company to constitute inside information under the Market Abuse Regulation (EU) No. 596/2014.

For more information, please go to .


Following the extraordinary and unprecedented events of 2020, we took the decision to delay the release of our 2019 results. I am pleased to be able to set out a review of what was a successful year for the Group.

The Covid-19 pandemic has since caused us to re-assess our plans and expectations for 2020 and I am now able to update separately on the steps we have taken in recent months to position the Group for the recovery that is now underway.

Review of 2019 results and performance

2019 was another positive year for Christie Group, in what was a period of lower mergers and acquisition activity and a reluctance of existing operators to increase operational spend commitments, amidst the prevailing Brexit uncertainty.

As a result, I am pleased to report an operating profit of GBP5.8m (2018: GBP4.1m), representing an increase of 41.3% on the previous year. This operating profit includes a gain of GBP1.5m on the sale and leaseback of office premises in Milton Keynes. As predicted at the time of the release of our Interim Results, we enjoyed a stronger second half to the year resulting in revenue of GBP78.0m (2018: GBP76.1m) and year-on-year growth of 2.6%. The year ended strongly following the definitive General Election result in the UK.

Our Professional & Financial Services (PFS) division enjoyed a year of progress. Operating profit from the division increased by 10% to GBP6.2m (2018: 5.6m) from revenue of GBP46.0m (2018: GBP43.4m).

This profit included an incentive fee relating to the highly successful Wyevale garden centres disposals, although much of our selling process to achieve this total transaction occurred in 2018.

Our Stock & Inventory Systems & Services (SISS) division experienced a challenging year where an undoubtedly disappointing financial result for the division masks progress that was made and that we are optimistic will contribute to more encouraging and profitable results in the future. Revenue fell by 1.9% to GBP32.1m (2018: GBP32.7m) and the operating loss for the division increased to GBP2.0m (2018: GBP0.7m).

Within the division, profitable trading from our hospitality stock audit, Pharmacy stocktaking and Benelux retail stocktaking operations were offset by further investment in our visitor attraction software business.

Our return to profit plan for our UK retail stocktaking business was slower to deliver improvements than we had originally planned. We are now seeing encouraging early signs of the required improvements in efficiency and productivity. As a result, we are optimistic that at existing volumes the business can now trade profitably on an annualised basis following Covid-19.

As we reported last year, the sale of an office building in Milton Keynes was completed in October 2019. The operating profit from the transaction, recognised in accordance with the requirements of IFRS 16, was significantly exceeded by the actual cash return from funds invested six years earlier.

Our improved 2019 result meant that earnings per share increased by 36.2% to 15.30p (2018: 11.23p).

2020 Trading and the Impact of Covid-19

2020 started well and our first quarter trading ended broadly in line with our expectations. By the last week of March, we had shut our physical offices across the UK and mainland Europe, in line with local government policy.

Our PFS division was transitioned to operating effectively online within a matter of days in late March. For Christie & Co, continued to operate successfully as our business sales portal through which buyers select establishments which match their particular requirements and may request further information.

The standalone - albeit linked websites - of Christie Finance and Christie Insurance have enabled our clients to continue to procure business mortgages, unsecured finance, life assurance, commercial risks cover and property insurance. Both Christie Finance and Christie Insurance have remained profitable throughout the downturn.

Our international offices which specialise in the hotel and tourism sector do not expect a notable pick up in transactional demand before September. The Consultancy work we are experiencing is normally a precursor to such activity. Tourist hotels which have reopened are concentrating on trading the shortened summer season, meanwhile most city centre business hotels will not reopen until September.

Large conferences and exhibitions which springboard activity have been postponed or cancelled and so the benefits that they bring for new business generation may come later in the year and beyond.

Immediately preceding lockdown we experienced reluctance on the part of vendors to bring businesses to the market, with practical difficulties impacting the opportunity to do so throughout lockdown. Advisory work continues for the banks and, in line with the government's support for businesses during the pandemic, they appear supportive of trading businesses and reluctant to force recoveries. The Corporate Insolvency & Governance Bill has effectively suspended creditors' ability to issue statutory demands and winding up petitions. The return of Crown Preference will see HMRC once again ranked as a preferential creditor when this come into effect in December.

Our transaction pipeline which had been stalled is now flowing again. We are experiencing a return of known investors and a healthy flow of new buyers. These include private equity buyers looking for good businesses which have faced Covid-19 disruption, private buyers looking to relocate to country and coastal locations and even entrepreneurs utilising 'bounce back' loans to acquire additional trading units.

The sectorised model which has enabled our Medical and Child Centric profit centres to flourish in recent years is to be expanded across Christie & Co. Closer collaboration among our sector-specialised agency and advisory teams will create business generation opportunities and even greater sharing of sector-knowledge to deliver client-focused solutions.

Pinders have seen a steady return of business since early June. By virtue of the furlough system they have been able to optimise staffing against recovering demand. We are optimistic that all of Pinders' valuers & building surveyors will once again be required full time by the end of October.

Our past and continuing investment in information technology enabled us to immediately and seamlessly transition all of our office-based staff to home working. We continued - albeit at much reduced volume - to provide information to buyers, submit offers to owners, negotiate sales, arrange finance & insurance and carry out desk top valuations, business appraisals & consultancy.

In our SISS division a small amount of pub stocktaking was undertaken as they closed in order to confirm stock in hand. Similarly, some essential counts for pharmacies continued for a short while. Our UK retail stocktaking and supply chain activities were completely inactive throughout April and May before the former resumed activity in early June.

Stocktaking for the licensed trade has initially commenced at 40% of former pre-Covid-19 volume. Many city-based hotels, pubs, restaurants and events locations have yet to re-open. We anticipate a ramp up of activity in September. Encouragingly, retail stocktaking operations have initially resumed at 65% of our anticipated normalised monthly revenue, with further progress expected as activity levels continue to recover.

Invariably the aggregate volume of stock counts is influenced by the level of stock turnover through the outlets concerned. We therefore reasonably anticipate further recovery in stock count volumes as retail customer spend increases. New business enquiries are flowing in.

Venners took the decision to exit its health & safety advisory work in the light of new and unascertainable Covid-related risks. They also exited their physical stocktaking presence in Eire, which was of insufficient scale.

Vennersys saw a virtual cessation of business as all visitor attractions closed in the UK. From early July centres have been reopening and currently around 10% remain closed, with plans to re-open in the coming weeks, but with limited access. We have seen a strong move to online presales of entry-timed tickets to avoid onsite queues and manage capacity. Food has substantially moved to pre order online, additionally routing that revenue through our online system.

Vennersys have closed their physical office in Canada where it had become a virtual cinema support operation.

Across the group, from 1 April 2020, over 1,300 UK employees, day-rate staff and casual workers were furloughed. Internationally we were able to benefit from the various localised government support packages available.

From the 1 August we commenced a phased office reopening programme. We recognise that, while continued home working may remain desirable or necessary for some due to their personal circumstances, there are many of our staff who ideally need to be office based for their work or who benefit from the traditional office environment. We have therefore, after consultation, made available a reduced amount of Covid-secure workspace.

The 1 July brought increased and welcome flexibility to the UK furlough scheme, as increasing demand for our services has allowed us to steadily increase staff resourcing. At the time of writing, approximately 70% of our employees have returned from furlough in some capacity, with many of those returning on a part time basis initially. Alongside this we have returned a growing number of day rate and casual stocktaking staff where required to support the recovering demand for our services.

Management changes & developments

Steve Mayne retires as Managing Director of Venners on 31 December. Steve Mayne joined Venners in London as the office junior and post boy in 1975. He has been promoted through the ranks and formally took over as M.D. at the beginning of 2018. His last three years have encompassed Venners' best two years' trading and Venners' Covid-attributed worst.

Steve has been the backbone of our business but has also both initiated and embraced the change required, to keep our core stock valuation and related advisory assignments both current and relevant. Computerised diagnostic analysis of sales & thereby stock results are the latest tools in Venners' armoury. We wish Steve and his wife Carol a fulfilling and mobile retirement centred around their son and daughter.

Our established succession plan has enabled Scott Hulme, Venners Deputy MD, to step up to the Managing Director role after a brief transition period.

I am pleased to announce that Chris Day has kindly agreed to continue to serve as a Group director on a non-executive basis until our AGM in 2021. His knowledge of your businesses is particularly helpful as we reboot activity in these unprecedented times.


On your behalf I thank our dedicated and enthusiastic teams of management and staff. Together they face the current difficulties with equanimity and some personal financial sacrifice. We are poised to further gear up activity when our markets allow.

In light of the current economic uncertainty we do not propose to add to the interim dividend which was paid in November 2019. It would, however, be our intention to pay a dividend for 2021 if we trade in line with our expectations.

Each of our services remains in demand. We have seen the flexible benefits of remote working which we have already embraced where it is appropriate to do so. In the absence of any resurgence of the pandemic we should return to profitable UK trading in aggregate in 2021. We therefore view our future with cautious optimism.

I remain ever aware of the importance of ensuring that we regularly engage with you, our shareholders. The AGM is ordinarily a key part of this. Regretfully, this year, in light of the Covid-19 situation, the AGM, which is held in our own offices, will be held as a closed meeting. We are committed to the well-being of both our staff and our shareholders. Attendance will be strictly restricted to specified individuals to ensure that the meeting is quorate to conduct the necessary business.

We do, however, invite shareholders to submit via email to a topic regarding the company's business which is of particular interest to them at this time. Our intention is to group together points of interest, not already covered in our latest Annual Report & Accounts, AGM Statement or to be covered in our forthcoming Interim Results. Where possible and commercially desirable we intend to address a selection of these points in an investor presentation. The presentation will be placed on our website following our AGM.

Due to the Covid-19 induced delay in issuing our 2019 AR&A there is insufficient time to enable us to immediately publish our Interim Results to 30 June 2020. For this reason, we sought and have been granted permission to delay the publication of our Interim Results which will now be published on or before 31 October 2020.

David Rugg

Chairman and Chief Executive

3 September 2020


In the PFS division the success was tangible with an operating profit of GBP6.2m (2018: 5.6m) reflecting an excellent year in every sense. In the SISS division the operating loss of GBP2.0m (2018: GBP0.7m) is clearly disappointing, but we are encouraged by the progress we are now seeing in those businesses within the division which were unable to contribute positively in 2019. A profitable SISS division, re-achieved within a foreseeable timeframe, remains of paramount importance.

Professional & Financial Services Division

Within the Professional & Financial Services (PFS) division, our agency and advisory business, Christie & Co, enjoyed a very positive year. The headline-grabbing Wyevale project aside, we could point to a successful year across our various sectors, where investor interest in alternative assets and property-backed trading businesses remained strong, despite ongoing political commentary that might have sought to suggest otherwise.

This was reflected in average values on business sales across a number of our sectors. With the exception of the Restaurant and Pharmacy sectors, we saw average business values increase in all of our core sectors with the strongest increases coming in Dental (5.4%), Care (5.5%) and Child Centric (4.6%). The slight softening in prices in Pharmacy were once again impacted by Category M clawbacks alongside a shortage of drug supplies which impacted drug pricing and squeezed operators' margins. Against this sector backdrop, we strengthened our sector presence with a significant growth in brokerage instructions.

Our Child Centric team had another excellent year. Demand in the sector remained buoyant - particularly for children's day nurseries - driving the value growth referred to. As portfolio transactions became fewer, we saw an increase in single asset deals. Bank support for the private education and specialist childcare sectors continued.

In our hospitality sectors, we were encouraged by a resurgence of activity in Pubs, with tenanted estate disposals proving attractive to private equity, and with a range of international investors engaged in acquisition and disposal activity. Amid ongoing challenges for the Restaurant sector with CVAs and restructuring, we were instructed by joint administrators to market a group of twenty restaurants from within the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group.

The hotel market remains an attractive sector for investors, both in the UK and Internationally.

A very encouraging year for our international network saw our mainland European network achieve a 13% increase in fee income in the year. Highlights included the sale of Romantik Hotel Schloss Rheinfels in the Rhine Valley, and we assisted easyHotels in their acquisition of ibis Nice Palais des Congres. As we ended the year, we had anticipated deal flow being further unlocked in 2020 but this now appears unlikely in the short term.

Our Care team produced an excellent performance in both advisory and brokerage. We sold 66% of the individually transacted care homes in the UK while demand from institutional investors remained strong and forward funds continued to show great interest in the development market.

In Retail, alongside our breakthrough into the Garden Centre sub-sector, we saw strong levels of interest from investors in petrol filling stations, reflecting the consumer move towards convenience retail more generally where trading fundamentals remained robust.

For Christie Finance, its Unsecured division almost doubled income year-on-year, while our more established Core and Corporate divisions delivered a more modest but impressive 15% growth. This growth in Unsecured was reflected in a lower average loan size compared to a year earlier. This expansion was reflected in a 20% increase in headcount within the business. Recognising their achievements, Christie Finance received award nominations from both Coutts and the industry renowned Moneyfacts Awards in their respective Commercial Mortgage Broker of the Year categories.

Christie Insurance remains ideally placed to provide our clients with sector-tailored insurance cover, addressing the operating risks of their businesses and the life assurance required to secure commercial mortgages.

Pinders celebrated its 50(th) anniversary by making further progress in growing its average appraisal fees. The focus on growing their white coat sectors' presence continued, while instruction volumes increased sizably from a selection of lenders, reflecting the regard in which Pinders are held.

 PFS divisional KPIs                               2019     2018 
 Total businesses sold                            1,127      920 
                                               --------  ------- 
 % Increase / (decrease) in average fee 
  per business sold                             (21.4%)    12.2% 
                                               --------  ------- 
 Total value of businesses sold (GBPm)            1,444    1,367 
                                               --------  ------- 
 Total valuations carried out                     6,346    6,314 
                                               --------  ------- 
 % increase / (decrease) in average fee 
  per valuation                                  (0.7%)     0.9% 
                                               --------  ------- 
 Value of businesses valued (GBPm)                9,532   10,935 
                                               --------  ------- 
 % increase in number of loan offers secured      13.9%    32.9% 
                                               --------  ------- 
 Average loan size (GBP'000)                        481      533 
                                               --------  ------- 

Our operational KPIs illustrate the scale of our business brokerage and valuation operations. We sold over 1,100 businesses in 2019 in what represented a 22.5% increase in agency volumes compared to 2018. This volume growth was assisted by the Wyevale disposal, where 40 sites were sold in 2018 and the balance in 2019.

The mix of business was the prevailing factor behind the 21.4% fall in our average fee, where, as previously noted, within each sector business values tended to show an increase. That was shown by the GBP1.44 billion-worth of businesses we sold in the year (2018: GBP1.37bn) at an average business value of GBP1.3m (2018: GBP1.5m).

Valuation fee levels remained competitive and relatively stable, with over 6,300 valuations carried out and the total value of businesses we inspected exceeding GBP9.5 billion (2018: GBP10.9bn).

Stock & Inventory Systems & Services Division

On the Stocktaking & Inventory Systems & Services (SISS) side of our business, the year was a mixture of success, progression and a degree of frustration.

I presented a 'return to profit' plan for our UK retail stocktaking operation within Orridge at the AGM in June 2019 and set out a timetable for returning the operation to an annualised profit in 2020. A combination of delayed traction with the required productivity improvements and the disruption which has since ensued in 2020 means that this annualised return to profit will not happen before 2021. However, having resumed UK stocktaking as the retail sector re-opened, we are now seeing very encouraging productivity improvements beginning to come through which, if maintained, will mean the business can return to profit in 2021.

This follows from a much-improved last quarter in 2019 where we re-stabilised operational delivery and restored service levels following a period of change and transformation for the business in the first half of 2019. Our strategic view that sustainable pricing remains preferable over low-margin volume has been maintained.

Elsewhere in the UK, our Pharmacy and Supply Chain businesses both delivered profitable performances in 2019 from what remain significantly higher margin businesses than their retail stocktaking counterpart. Indeed, both saw gross profit margin improve in the year.

Our European retail stocktaking businesses benefit from a less competitive pricing environment. Our Benelux operation produced an excellent performance both commercially and operationally, delivering double-digit revenue growth and improved profitability. Our German operation experienced a more challenging year. We took the opportunity to centralise its operating structure, making it more streamlined as we commenced 2020.

Venners, the largest provider of stocktaking services and related systems to the UK hospitality sector, focused on improving profit margins in 2019 while expanding its advisory capabilities. It consolidated its position as the leading stock audit provider to the licensed trade in the UK, once again carrying out over 41,000 audits during the year and improving stock audit profit margins in the process. New clients included Michel's & Taylors and Jury's Hotels.

 SISS divisional KPIs                               2019     2018 
 Total stocktakes & audits carried out (number 
  of jobs)                                        68,055   70,541 
                                                 -------  ------- 
 % increase in average income per job               1.5%     4.0% 
                                                 -------  ------- 

Higher margin Consultancy and Compliance revenues increased by nearly 13% in the year, albeit stock audit revenues continue to remain the major revenue stream; our focus on growing our non-audit income streams will continue.

In Vennersys, our SaaS business for visitor attractions, we saw a progressive year. Revenues from our UK operation grew by 22.6%. Clients continued to increase the level of admissions sales via our VenPos Cloud system, with online sales amounting to 22% of our clients' admissions. While a number of clients were already taking 100% of their ticket sales online in 2019, many others remained in single-digit numbers by comparison. The scope for growth in our online revenues was therefore significant as we finished the year. 2020 has, undoubtedly, further focused operators on the advantages of online sales and the benefits of multi-functional visitor management technology.


Having finished the year with excitement and anticipation of what can be achieved in the future, that long-term ambition is undimmed by the events of 2020. The successes of 2019 combined with our diversity, brand strength, flexibility and infrastructure mean we can continue to look beyond the short term.

We have since added to our end-of-year cash resources with the GBP6m Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) loan announced in May. It is a prudent but sensible step to supplement our self-generated cash resources in light of the disruption caused by Covid-19 and enhance our resilience in the face of unprecedented events.

Dan Prickett

Chief Operating Officer

3 September 2020

Consolidated Income Statement

For the year ended 31 December 2019

                                                             2019        2018 
                                                            Total       Total 
                                                          GBP'000     GBP'000 
----------------------------------------------  -----  ----------  ---------- 
 Revenue                                            2      78,041      76,090 
 Employee benefit expenses                               (53,754)    (51,884) 
----------------------------------------------  -----  ----------  ---------- 
                                                           24,287      24,206 
 Depreciation and amortisation                            (2,405)     (1,018) 
 Impairment reversal/(charge)                                  22        (22) 
 Gain on sale and leaseback of property                     1,531           - 
 Other operating expenses                                (17,664)    (19,083) 
----------------------------------------------  -----  ----------  ---------- 
 Operating profit                                           5,771       4,083 
 Finance costs                                            (1,351)       (485) 
 Finance income                                                 2           1 
 Total finance costs                                      (1,349)       (484) 
----------------------------------------------  -----  ----------  ---------- 
 Profit before tax                                          4,422       3,599 
 Taxation                                                   (409)       (661) 
----------------------------------------------  -----  ----------  ---------- 
 Profit after tax                                           4,013       2,938 
----------------------------------------------  -----  ----------  ---------- 
 Profit for the period after tax attributable 
 Equity shareholders of the parent                          4,013       2,956 
 Non-controlling interest                                       -        (18) 
----------------------------------------------  -----  ----------  ---------- 
                                                            4,013       2,938 
----------------------------------------------  -----  ----------  ---------- 
 Earnings per share attributable to equity holders - pence 
 Profit attributable to the equity holders of the Company 
 Basic                                              4       15.30       11.23 
 Diluted                                            4       14.87       10.73 
----------------------------------------------  -----  ----------  ---------- 

All amounts derive from continuing activities.

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these preliminary results .

Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income

For the year ended 31 December 2019

                                                                 2019       2018 
                                                                Total      Total 
                                                              GBP'000    GBP'000 
----------------------------------------------------   --------------  --------- 
 Profit after tax                                               4,013      2,938 
---------------------------------------------------  -----  ---------  --------- 
 Other comprehensive income: 
 Items that may be reclassified subsequently 
  to profit or loss: 
 Exchange differences on translating foreign 
  operations                                                    (145)        106 
---------------------------------------------------  -----  ---------  --------- 
 Net other comprehensive (losses)/income 
  to be reclassified to profit or loss in 
  subsequent years                                              (145)        106 
---------------------------------------------------  -----  ---------  --------- 
 Items that will not be reclassified subsequently 
 to profit or loss: 
 Actuarial (losses)/gains on defined benefit 
  plans                                                         1,207      (694) 
 Income tax effect                                              (205)        118 
---------------------------------------------------  -----  ---------  --------- 
 Net other comprehensive income/(losses) 
  not being reclassified to profit or loss 
  in subsequent years                                           1,002      (576) 
---------------------------------------------------  -----  ---------  --------- 
 Other comprehensive income/(losses) for 
  the year net of tax                                             857      (470) 
---------------------------------------------------  -----  ---------  --------- 
 Total comprehensive income for the year                        4,870      2,468 
---------------------------------------------------  -----  ---------  --------- 
 Total comprehensive income attributable 
  Equity shareholders of the parent          4,870   2,486 
 Non-controlling interest                        -    (18) 
------------------------------------------  ------  ------ 
                                             4,870   2,468 
 -----------------------------------------  ------  ------ 

Consolidated Statement of Changes in Shareholders' Equity

As at 31 December 2019

 Attributable to the Equity Holders of the Company 
                                                       Other     Cumulative                      Non - 
                                           Share    reserves    translation    Retained    controlling      Total 
                                         capital     GBP'000        reserve    earnings       interest     equity 
                                         GBP'000                    GBP'000     GBP'000        GBP'000    GBP'000 
-------------------------------------  ---------  ----------  -------------  ----------  -------------  --------- 
 Balance at 1 January 2018                   531       5,612            659    (10,226)          (378)    (3,802) 
-------------------------------------  ---------  ----------  -------------  ----------  -------------  --------- 
 Profit for the year after 
  tax                                          -           -              -       2,956           (18)      2,938 
 Items that will not be reclassified 
  subsequently to profit or 
  loss                                         -           -              -       (576)              -      (576) 
 Items that may be reclassified 
  subsequently to profit or 
  loss                                         -           -            106           -              -        106 
-------------------------------------  ---------  ----------  -------------  ----------  -------------  --------- 
 Total comprehensive income 
  for the year                                 -           -            106       2,380           (18)      2,468 
 Movement in respect of employee 
  share scheme                                 -       (278)              -           -              -      (278) 
 Employee share option scheme: 
 - value of services provided                  -          23              -           -              -         23 
 Acquisition of non-controlling 
  interest                                     -           -              -       (396)            396          - 
 Dividends paid                                -           -              -       (790)              -      (790) 
-------------------------------------  ---------  ----------  -------------  ----------  -------------  --------- 
 Balance at 31 December 2018                 531       5,357            765     (9,032)              -    (2,379) 
-------------------------------------  ---------  ----------  -------------  ----------  -------------  --------- 
 Impact of IFRS 16                             -           -              -     (1,821)              -    (1,821) 
-------------------------------------  ---------  ----------  -------------  ----------  -------------  --------- 
 Adjusted balance at 1 January 
  2019                                       531       5,357            765    (10,853)              -    (4,200) 
-------------------------------------  ---------  ----------  -------------  ----------  -------------  --------- 
 Profit for the year after 
  tax                                          -           -              -       4,013              -      4,013 
 Items that will not be reclassified 
  subsequently to profit or 
  loss                                         -           -              -       1,002              -      1,002 
 Items that may be reclassified 
  subsequently to profit or 
  loss                                         -           -          (145)           -              -      (145) 
 Total comprehensive income 
  for the year                                 -           -          (145)       5,015              -      4,870 
 Movement in respect of employee 
  share scheme                                 -          27              -           -              -         27 
 Employee share option scheme 
 - value of services provided                  -          59              -           -              -         59 
 Dividends paid                                -           -              -       (790)              -      (790) 
 Balance at 31 December 2019                 531       5,443            620     (6,628)              -       (34) 
-------------------------------------  ---------  ----------  -------------  ----------  -------------  --------- 

Consolidated Statement of Financial Position

At 31 December 2019

                                                  2019            2018 
                                               GBP'000         GBP'000 
--------------------------------     -----------------  -------------- 
 Non-current assets 
 Intangible assets - Goodwill                    1,810           1,856 
 Intangible assets - Other                       1,243           1,387 
 Property, plant and equipment                   1,557           3,664 
 Right of use assets                             6,649               - 
 Deferred tax assets                             2,649           3,009 
 Other receivables                               1,901           1,913 
-----------------------------------  -----------------  -------------- 
                                                15,809          11,829 
   --------------------------------  -----------------  -------------- 
 Current assets 
 Inventories                                        35              29 
 Trade and other receivables                    14,914          14,848 
 Current tax assets                                240             156 
 Cash and cash equivalents                       9,807           4,668 
-----------------------------------  -----------------  -------------- 
                                                24,996          19,701 
   --------------------------------  -----------------  -------------- 
 Total assets                                   40,805          31,530 
-----------------------------------  -----------------  -------------- 
 Share capital                                     531             531 
 Other reserves                                  5,443           5,357 
 Cumulative translation 
  reserve                                          620             765 
 Retained earnings                             (6,628)         (9,032) 
-----------------------------------  -----------------  -------------- 
 Total equity                                     (34)         (2,379) 
-----------------------------------  -----------------  -------------- 
 Non-current liabilities 
 Trade and other payables                          464             134 
 Retirement benefit obligations                 12,011          14,119 
 Lease liabilities                               8,737               - 
 Borrowings                                          -             602 
 Provisions                                        590             469 
-----------------------------------  -----------------  -------------- 
                                                21,802          15,324 
   --------------------------------  -----------------  -------------- 
 Current liabilities 
 Trade and other payables                       11,574          11,292 
 Lease liabilities                               1,122               - 
 Current tax liabilities                            43              79 
 Borrowings                                      5,055           6,354 
 Provisions                                      1,243             860 
-----------------------------------  -----------------  -------------- 
                                                19,037          18,585 
   --------------------------------  -----------------  -------------- 
 Total liabilities                              40,839          33,909 
-----------------------------------  -----------------  -------------- 
 Total equity and liabilities                   40,805          31,530 
-----------------------------------  -----------------  -------------- 

Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows

For the year ended 31 December 2019

                                                   Note        2019        2018 
                                                            GBP'000     GBP'000 
----------------------------------------------  -------  ----------  ---------- 
 Cash flow from operating activities 
 Cash generated from operations                       5       6,535       2,948 
 Interest paid                                                (992)       (169) 
 Tax paid                                                     (361)       (570) 
----------------------------------------------  -------  ----------  ---------- 
 Net cash generated from operating activities                 5,182       2,209 
----------------------------------------------  -------  ----------  ---------- 
 Cash flow from investing activities 
 Purchase of property, plant and equipment                    (540)       (720) 
 Proceeds from sale of property, plant 
  and equipment                                               5,082          14 
 Intangible asset expenditure - software                      (326)       (442) 
 Interest received                                                2           1 
 Net cash generated from/(used in) investing 
  activities                                                  4,218     (1,147) 
----------------------------------------------  -------  ----------  ---------- 
 Cash flow from financing activities 
 Repayment of bank loan                                       (653)       (144) 
 Drawdown/(repayment) of invoice finance                         37       (110) 
 Repayment of lease liabilities                             (1,596)         (1) 
 Dividends paid                                               (790)       (790) 
 Net cash used in financing activities                      (3,002)     (1,045) 
----------------------------------------------  -------  ----------  ---------- 
 Net increase in cash                                         6,398          17 
 Cash and cash equivalents at beginning 
  of year                                                       201         176 
 Exchange losses on euro bank accounts                           26           8 
 Cash and cash equivalents at end of 
  year                                                        6,625         201 
----------------------------------------------  -------  ----------  ---------- 

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these preliminary results.



The financial information set out in this announcement does not comprise the Company's statutory accounts for the years ended 31 December 2019 or 31 December 2018.

The financial information has been extracted from the statutory accounts of the Company for the years ended 31 December 2019 and 31 December 2018. The auditors reported on those accounts; their reports were unqualified.

The statutory accounts for the year ended 31 December 2018 have been delivered to the Registrar of Companies, whereas those for the year ended 31 December 2019 will be delivered to the Registrar of Companies following the Company's Annual General Meeting.

While the financial information included in this preliminary announcement has been prepared in accordance with the recognition and measurement criteria of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs), this announcement does not itself contain sufficient information to comply with IFRSs. The Company expects to publish full financial statements that comply with IFRSs in September 2020.

These policies have been consistently applied to all years presented, unless otherwise stated.


The Group is organised into two main operating segments: Professional & Financial Services (PFS) and Stock & Inventory Systems & Services (SISS).

The segment results for the year ended 31 December 2019 are as follows:

                                        PFS        SISS       Other       Group 
                                    GBP'000     GBP'000     GBP'000     GBP'000 
-------------------------------  ----------  ----------  ----------  ---------- 
 Total gross segment sales           46,063      32,088       3,333      81,484 
 Inter-segment sales                  (110)           -     (3,333)     (3,443) 
-------------------------------  ----------  ----------  ----------  ---------- 
 Revenue                             45,953      32,088           -      78,041 
-------------------------------  ----------  ----------  ----------  ---------- 
 Operating profit/(loss)              6,224     (1,984)       1,531       5,771 
 Finance costs                        (915)       (382)        (52)     (1,349) 
-------------------------------  ----------  ----------  ----------  ---------- 
 Profit before tax                    5,309     (2,366)       1,479       4,422 
-------------------------------  ----------  ----------  ----------  ---------- 
 Taxation                                                                 (409) 
-------------------------------  ----------  ----------  ----------  ---------- 
 Profit for the year after tax                                            4,013 
-------------------------------  ----------  ----------  ----------  ---------- 

The segment results for the year ended 31 December 2018 are as follows:

                                        PFS        SISS       Other       Group 
                                    GBP'000     GBP'000     GBP'000     GBP'000 
-------------------------------  ----------  ----------  ----------  ---------- 
 Total gross segment sales           43,491      32,709       3,502      79,702 
 Inter-segment sales                  (110)           -     (3,502)     (3,612) 
-------------------------------  ----------  ----------  ----------  ---------- 
 Revenue                             43,381      32,709           -      76,090 
-------------------------------  ----------  ----------  ----------  ---------- 
 Operating profit/(loss)              5,635       (720)       (832)       4,083 
 Finance costs                        (178)       (230)        (76)       (484) 
-------------------------------  ----------  ----------  ----------  ---------- 
 Profit before tax                    5,457       (950)       (908)       3,599 
-------------------------------  ----------  ----------  ----------  ---------- 
 Taxation                                                                 (661) 
-------------------------------  ----------  ----------  ----------  ---------- 
 Profit for the year after tax                                            2,938 
-------------------------------  ----------  ----------  ----------  ---------- 

Revenue is allocated below based on the entity's country of domicile.

                           2019        2018 
                        GBP'000     GBP'000 
-------------------  ----------  ---------- 
 Europe                  77,632      75,710 
 Rest of the World          409         380 
-------------------  ----------  ---------- 
                         78,041      76,090 
-------------------  ----------  ---------- 
   3.    DIVIDS 

A dividend in respect of the year ended 31 December 2019 of 0.00p per share (2018: 1.75p), amounting to a total dividend of GBPnil (2018: GBP464,000) is to be proposed at the Annual General Meeting on 28 September 2020.

In the year the Group paid an interim dividend of 1.25p per share (2018: 1.25p) totalling GBP326,000 (2018: GBP326,000).


Basic earnings per share is calculated by dividing the profit attributable to equity holders of the Company by the weighted average number of ordinary shares in issue during the year, which excludes the shares held in the Employee Share Ownership Plan (ESOP) trust.

                                                                                     2019          2018 
                                                                                  GBP'000       GBP'000 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------  ------------  ------------ 
 Profit attributable to equity holders of the Company                               4,013         2,956 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------  ------------  ------------ 
                                                                                Thousands     Thousands 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------  ------------  ------------ 
 Weighted average number of ordinary shares in issue                               26,220        26,321 
                                                                                      755         1,224 
 Adjustment for share options 
 Weighted average number of ordinary shares for diluted earnings per share         26,975        27,545 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------  ------------  ------------ 
                                                                                    Pence         Pence 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------  ------------  ------------ 
 Basic earnings per share                                                           15.30         11.23 
 Diluted earnings per share                                                         14.87         10.73 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------  ------------  ------------ 

Cash generated from operations

                                          2019       2018 
                                       GBP'000    GBP'000 
-----------------------------------  ---------  --------- 
 Profit for the year after tax           4,013      2,938 
 Adjustments for: 
 Taxation                                  409        661 
 Finance costs                           1,000        168 
 Past service costs                          -       (60) 
 Depreciation                            1,936        603 
 Amortisation of intangible assets         469        415 
 Profit on sale of property, plant 
  and equipment                        (1,531)       (14) 
 Foreign currency translation               12          1 
  Net payments to ESOP                       -      (303) 
 Increase/(decrease) in provisions         504      (157) 
 Share option charge                        59         23 
 Movement in retirement benefit 
  obligation                             (900)      (756) 
 Movement in non-current other 
  receivables                               12          - 
 Movement in working capital: 
 Increase in inventories                   (6)       (14) 
 (Increase)/decrease in trade and 
  other receivables                       (54)        155 
 Increase/(decrease) in trade and 
  other payables                           612      (712) 
 Cash generated from operations          6,535      2,948 
-----------------------------------  ---------  --------- 

Report and Accounts

Copies of the 2019 Annual Report and Accounts will be posted to shareholders in September. Further copies may be obtained by contacting the Company Secretary at the registered office. Alternatively, the 2019 Annual Report and Accounts will be available to download from the investors section on the Company's website

Key dates

The Annual General Meeting of the Company is scheduled to take place at 10.00am on Monday 28(th) September 2020 as a closed virtual meeting.

Group Companies

   Professional   & Financial Services 

Christie & Co

Christie & Co is a leading specialist firm providing business intelligence in the hospitality, leisure, healthcare, medical, childcare & education and retail sectors. It employs the largest teams of sector specialists in the UK & Europe providing professional agency, valuation and consultancy services.

Christie Finance

Christie Finance has 40 years' experience in financing businesses in the hospitality, leisure, healthcare, medical, childcare & education, retail and medical sectors. Christie Finance prides itself on its speed of response to client opportunities and its strong relationships with finance providers.

Christie Insurance

With over 40 years' experience arranging business insurance in the hospitality, leisure, healthcare, medical, childcare and education and retail sectors, Christie Insurance is a leading company in its markets. It delivers and exceeds clients' expectations in terms of the cost of their insurance and the breadth of its cover.


Pinders is the UK's leading specialist business appraisal, valuation and consultancy company, providing professional services to the licensed, leisure, retail and care sectors, and also the commercial and corporate business sectors. Its Building Consultancy Division offers a full range of project management, building monitoring and building surveying services. Pinders staff use business analysis and surveying skills to look at the detail of the businesses to arrive at accurate assessments of their trading potential and value.

Stock & Inventory Systems & Services


Orridge is Europe's longest established stocktaking business specialising in all fields of retail stocktaking including high street, warehousing and factory operations, pharmacy and supply chain services. It also has a specialised pharmacy division providing valuation and stocktaking services. Orridge prides itself on the speed in supplying high quality management information to its clients.


Venners is the leading supplier of stocktaking, inventory, consultancy services and related stock management systems to the hospitality sector. Consultancy services include control audits and live event stock taking. Bespoke software and systems enable real-time management reporting to customers using the best available technologies. Venners is the largest and longest established stock audit company in the sector in the UK.


Vennersys operates in the UK and deliveries online Cloud-based ticketing sales and admission Systems to visitor attractions such as historic houses and estates, museums, zoos, safari parks, aquaria and cinemas. It has over 25 years' experience delivering purpose-designed solutions for clients' ticketing, admissions, EPoS and food and beverages sales requirements.

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September 04, 2020 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT)

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