DWF has continued to record strong revenue growth with FY19 revenue expected to grow by not less than 15%, delivering growth across each of its divisions in line with the Company's medium term targets. International has seen the strongest growth in the period with revenue increasing by more than 70%, while Connected Services saw growth in FY19 in excess of 20%. Insurance and Commercial Services also delivered strong organic growth of in excess of 5%, in line with guidance.
The Company's EBITDA margin (calculated on an adjusted proforma basis)(1) was in line with management's expectations leading to good profit growth, in absolute terms, year on year. This has been driven from improvement in divisional gross profit margins and in the cost to income ratio.
The Company's year-end net debt was in line with management's expectations at £35.1m. This follows management's successful actions in FY19 to improve cash collections. The Company is therefore delivering good progress toward its medium term guidance of an expected reduction of between 5-10 days in overall lockup.
DWF increased its net partner headcount by 19 on a full-time equivalent basis for the 12 months since 1 May 2018 through its successful lateral partner hiring and promotion programme. The Company also has a healthy potential lateral hire pipeline demonstrating the attractiveness of its global platform to deliver complex, managed and connected services, its remuneration model and ability to offer equity participation across all career levels.
As detailed in its prospectus, the Company expects to pay a full-year dividend of £3m, subject to shareholder approval, in September 2019 and to pay further dividends thereafter in line with its stated dividend policy.
The Company anticipates that it will announce its preliminary full-year results on 31 July 2019.
DWF has had a solid start to the new financial year and the Company is confident that it will continue to deliver further revenue and EBITDA growth in line with the Company’s medium term targets. The Company expects to deliver continued organic growth as well as bolt on acquisition opportunities.
Andrew Leaitherland, CEO, commented: "This has been another year of strong financial performance across our business, including good organic growth rates in our insurance and commercial services divisions and double-digit growth in Connected Services and International, providing a firm foundation on which to begin life as a public company. Our international business in particular has shown extremely strong revenue growth. In this new financial year, we have already built upon our success by delivering on an international expansion opportunity highlighted in our prospectus, through the transaction to acquire the legal services business of K&L Gates Jamka in Poland. Since our IPO in March, we have also further expanded in Australia through the acquisition of FT Adjusting, a Connected Services business, and the hire of seven principal lawyers from the Melbourne law firm, WARD Lawyers."
Note (1): Pro forma margin analysis based on an adjusted direct cost measure, as if the Company had been a PLC with its revised compensation structure for the full financial year, calculated before exceptional items.
For further information:
DWF Group plc
James Igoe +44(0)20 7280 8929
Finsbury (public relations adviser to DWF)
Ed Simpkins, Charles O'Brien +44(0)20 7251 3801
About the Company
DWF is a global legal business providing complex, managed and connected services, operating from 27 key locations with approximately 3,200 people. The Company became the first Main Market Premium Listed legal business on the London Stock Exchange in March 2019. Pre-IPO, DWF recorded revenue of £236 million in the year ended 30 April 2018.
Forward looking statements
This announcement contains certain forward-looking statements with respect to the Company's current targets, expectations and projections about future performance, anticipated events or trends and other matters that are not historical facts. These forward-looking statements, which sometimes use words such as "aim", "anticipate", "believe", "intend", "plan" "estimate", "expect" and words of similar meaning, include all matters that are not historical facts and reflect the directors' beliefs and expectations and involve a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could cause actual results and performance to differ materially from any expected future results or performance expressed or implied by the forward-looking statement.