The multi-brands franchise business increased its adjusted EBITDA to £5.2mln from £4.0mln on the back of a 24%,, while revenue rose to £44.0mln from £35.5mln the previous year. Profit before tax climbed to £3.28mln from £2.86mln the year before.
Adjusted net debt as at the end of 2019 had risen to £9.2mln, up from £5.0mln a year earlier, after the company shelled out an initial £4mln cash consideration for the acquisition of Willow Pumps.
Management said the performance of Willow Pumps in the first three months of ownership had exceeded expectations.
Meanwhile, the Metro Rod drain care business saw system sales growth increase by 14% in 2019 from 8% in 2018.
2020 trading has started well
Stephen Hemsley, the executive chairman of Franchise Brands commented: "2019 has seen us successfully build the business both organically and by acquisition, with an acceleration in system sales growth at Metro Rod and Metro Plumb, and a recovery in franchise recruitment in the newly formed B2C [business-to-consumer] division, complemented by the acquisition of Willow Pumps, which has expanded Metro Rod's range of services."
He added: "Trading in 2020 has started well, with job intake at Metro Rod, Metro Plumb and Willow Pumps up on the same period in 2019 and a strong start to the year for franchisee recruitment in the B2C division.
"Whilst we have not yet seen any impact from the Covid-19 virus, we will continue to monitor the situation over the coming weeks. We have put in place plans which seek to mitigate any impact that the virus may have on our employees, franchisees, customers and suppliers."
"Overall, we look forward to 2020 with considerable confidence given the group's strong start to the current year and the clear opportunities for growth we see across both our B2B and B2C divisions, particularly as we increasingly realise the benefits of our Vision 2023 strategy and our investment in new capabilities, capacity and a broader range of services at Metro Rod," Hemsley concluded.
The group said a final dividend of 0.65p has been proposed, compared to 0.46p the previous year, which would bump the full-year pay-out up to 0.95p (2018: 0.67p).