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Learning Tech Gp PLC - Trading Statement

RNS Number : 2948H
Learning Technologies Group PLC
24 March 2020
 

Learning Technologies Group plc

 

FCA moratorium on publication of preliminary financial statements

 

Update on FY19, current trading and actions in response to COVID-19

 

Learning Technologies Group plc ("LTG" or the "Company"), the provider of services and technologies for digital learning and talent management, confirms that it will comply with the recommendation from the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) to all listed companies to delay the publication of preliminary financial statements for at least two weeks, following a similar request from the FCA on 21 March 2020 relating to companies listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange.

 

LTG was one of a number of companies alerted to the FRC recommendation on Monday 23 March, ahead of the planned announcement of our preliminary financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2019, originally scheduled for release today.

 

Given the advice from the FRC, we are providing an update today on FY19, current trading and our actions in response to COVID-19.

 

An update will be given as to the timing of the publication of our FY19 results, as soon as further advice from the FRC, the FCA and the London Stock Exchange becomes available.

 

FY19 strategic highlights

Good organic momentum from cross-selling initiatives and investment in product development

Content & Services returned to organic constant currency growth, as expected

Highly complementary acquisition of Open LMS, post period-end, adds expertise in a market-leading Learning Management System ('LMS') predominantly for higher education institutions and is immediately earnings enhancing (expected to complete on 31 March 2020)

 

FY19 financial highlights

FY19 profit and cash performance ahead of expectations as announced on 21 January 2020

Revenue of £130.1m; 39% increase on 2018

Adjusted EBIT of £41.0m; 58% increase on 2018

Strong increase in recurring revenues, reflecting excellent performance in Software & Platforms division including improved retention rate in PeopleFluent 

Software & Platforms (68% of Group revenue)

Organic constant currency revenue up 6% (c.11% on a three year CAGR basis), excluding PeopleFluent

PeopleFluent ahead of expectations and on track to return to growth in 2020 as guided at the time of the acquisition in 2018, subject to the impact of COVID-19

BreezyHR (acquired April 2019) delivered c.60% organic growth and extended our talent acquisition products into the small, mid and enterprise market

Content & Services (32% of Group revenue)

Organic constant currency revenue up 8% in the Division's three content businesses, LEO, Preloaded and Eukleia, in line with previous guidance

Strong recovery, as previously guided, reflects H2 momentum from LEO and Preloaded

Cross-selling supporting recent wins

Overall, organic revenue (excluding CSL contract) up 4% (c.5% on a three-year CAGR basis), reflecting a small deliberate reduction in the services division of PeopleFluent Learning following our strategic decision in late 2018 to cease to provide customisations on our SaaS LMS platform in line with good industry practice

Strong margin progression, with EBIT margins up 380 basis points to 31.5%

Excellent cash performance: net cash of £3.8 million at year-end, ahead of expectations

 

Current trading

Current financial year has started well and is in line with management expectations

Gross cash as of the date of this announcement is c.£54.0 million including drawdown of the $21 million RCF in preparation for the acquisition of Open LMS expected to complete on 31 March 2020

We have not yet seen a material impact from the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak on our performance. We anticipate our recurring revenues to continue, but content projects may be impacted as customers manage their own cash positions and new business wins delayed

 

Actions in response to COVID-19

In light of the potential impact of COVID-19, management has taken proactive measures to prioritise the strong liquidity and net cash position of the Group and to follow WHO and government guidance to protect the safety of our workforce, customers and partners

To sustain our position of strength, the Board is adopting a prudent approach to shareholder distributions, and will postpone the final dividend (proposed at 0.50 pence per share) until market conditions stabilise

We have postponed Director cash bonuses until market conditions stabilise; however, we will honour our substantial bonus payments to our staff to reflect their significant and positive contribution to our performance in 2019

We will fund the deferred consideration of BreezyHR through shares in lieu of cash payment of $4.0 million due at end of March 2020

We have taken a number of other measures to protect LTG's strong financial position including a reduction in marketing, travel and capital expenditure budgets.  We have also postponed salary increases for all staff until 2021, terminated the majority of contractors and implemented a recruitment freeze

We estimate the combined cash saving in 2020 from these measures is in excess of £13.0 million

COVID-19 creates uncertainty for the remainder of the financial year but the Board has further cash preservation measures that it is willing to implement if appropriate, recognising that maintaining our dedicated and talented workforce is a key priority in anticipation of the upturn

 

Jonathan Satchell, CEO of LTG, said:

 

"2019 was an exceptional year for LTG.  We saw excellent momentum in our Software & Platform businesses, and a return to organic growth in Content & Services, as expected.  I am particularly pleased to see our investment in product development and cross-selling initiatives supporting organic growth, while we continue to improve margins and cash performance. 

 

In recent weeks the macro picture has evolved quickly, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.  As you would expect, protecting our people and customers has been our top priority in recent days and weeks, and we are committed to supporting them at this time.  Whilst we are in a strong financial position with good liquidity, we are working hard to limit the impact of COVID-19 on our business and performance, and have extensive contingency planning in place to mitigate the risks from the unprecedented climate we are in.  As part of our planning, the Board has taken immediate and prudent action to protect our strong liquidity position until market conditions stabilise."

 

Financial summary:

 

£m unless otherwise stated

2019

2018

Change

Revenue

130.1

93.9

+39%

Recurring Revenue %

74%

68%

 

Revenue Outside UK %

80%

74%

 

Adj. EBIT

41.0

26.0

+58%

Adjusted EBIT margin

31.5%

27.7%

 

Statutory PBT

14.3

3.4

+316%

Adj. Diluted EPS (pence)

4.7

3.2

+47%

Proposed final dividend per share (pence)

0.00

0.35

 

Net Cash/(Debt)

3.8

(11.5)

 

 

 

Enquiries:

 

Learning Technologies Group plc

Jonathan Satchell, Chief Executive

Neil Elton, Chief Financial Officer

 

+44 (0)20 7402 1554

Numis Securities Limited (NOMAD and Corporate Broker)

Stuart Skinner, (Nomad), Nick Westlake, Ben Stoop

 

+44 (0)20 7260 1000

Goldman Sachs International (Joint Corporate Broker)

Bertie Whitehead, Adam Laikin

 

+44 (0)20 7774 1000

FTI Consulting (Public Relations Adviser)

Rob Mindell, Jamie Ricketts, Chris Birt

+44 (0)20 3727 1000

 

 

About LTG

 

LTG is a leader in the growing workplace digital learning and talent management market. The Group offers end-to-end learning and talent solutions ranging from strategic consultancy, through a range of content and platform solutions to analytical insights that enable corporate and government clients to close the gap between current and future workforce capability.

 

LTG is listed on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market (LTG.L) and headquartered in London. The Group has offices in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific.

 

Notes

 

1. All financials in this statement relating to FY19 are unaudited.

2. Links to the FRC and FCA announcements, for reference:

https://www.frc.org.uk/news/march-2020-(1)/frc-supports-moratorium-in-corporate-reporting

https://www.fca.org.uk/news/statements/fca-requests-delay-forthcoming-announcement-preliminary-financial-accounts

 


This information is provided by RNS, the news service of the London Stock Exchange. RNS is approved by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a Primary Information Provider in the United Kingdom. Terms and conditions relating to the use and distribution of this information may apply. For further information, please contact [email protected] or visit www.rns.com.
 
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