RNS Number : 8947M

Equals Group PLC

17 January 2023

 For immediate release   17 January 2023 

Equals Group plc

('Equals', the 'Group' or the 'Company')

Pre-Close Trading Update and

Notice of FY-22 Results

Equals Group plc (AIM:EQLS), the fast-growing payments group focused on the SME marketplace, announces a pre-close trading update for the financial year ended 31 December 2022 ('FY-22' or the 'year').

Unaudited revenues for the year were GBP69.7 million, up 59% (FY-21: GBP44.1 million); gross profits were GBP33.6 million, up 39% (FY-21: GBP24.0 million); and adjusted EBITDA[a] is expected to be marginally above GBP12.0 million, up 79% (FY-21: GBP6.7 million) and, ahead of market expectations. The underlying performance was even better as 2021 included the 'one-off' revenue from a material trade of GBP1.5 million and gross profits of GBP0.8 million.

As shown in the table below, revenue per working day[b] increased by 60% over the full year. The 43% increase in H2-22 revenues shows the effects of Solutions revenues coming on stream in H2 of the prior year and points to continued strong growth of the business. H2-22 included a period of pronounced GBP volatility in September which moved some customers to transact in Q3-22 rather than Q4-22 but these effects smooth out over the six-month period.

 Period       Revenue in   Working    Revenue per          % change 
            GBP millions      days    working day    on same period 
                                      in GBP000's     in prior year 
 H1-21              16.9       124          136.3             23.7% 
          --------------  --------  -------------  ---------------- 
 H2-21              27.2       129          210.8             79.0% 
          --------------  --------  -------------  ---------------- 
 FY-21              44.1       253          174.3             52.3% 
          --------------  --------  -------------  ---------------- 
 H1-22              31.4       123          255.3             87.3% 
          --------------  --------  -------------  ---------------- 
 H2-22              38.3       127          301.6             43.0% 
          --------------  --------  -------------  ---------------- 
 FY-22              69.7       250          278.8             60.0% 
          --------------  --------  -------------  ---------------- 

The significant increase in adjusted EBITDA achieved in FY-22 versus FY-21 has been achieved whilst the Group continued to invest in resources for future growth by adding headcount in sales, marketing, onboarding and compliance functions. The Group has also continued to manage its cost base in the face of high inflation and labour-market tightness.

This robust trading has also resulted in approximately GBP15.0 million of cash at bank as at 31 December 2022, having settled in full the CBILs loan of GBP2.0 million and disbursing in excess of GBP2.0 million relating to acquisitions.

2022 also saw the Group continue to deliver on its strategy of investment into its platform capabilities and connectivity, including the announcement of direct participation in the SEPA payments network for Euros. Further, the Group completed the buy-out of the minority shareholdings of Equals Connect and announced the acquisition of an open banking platform called Roqqett. The Group will continue with its strategy of investment in growth, platform and connectivity and the Board is confident of achieving a strong result for FY-23.

Commenting on the Trading Update, Ian Strafford-Taylor, Chief Executive Officer, said : "We have delivered a particularly strong financial performance in 2022 as the Group reaped significant benefits from operational gearing and economies of scale. This has been made possible as a result of prudent and sustained investments into the proposition, specifically technology and connectivity, since 2018. That investment continued throughout 2022, supporting and enabling rapid growth, and will continue through 2023 as we target investment into an exciting roadmap of product development and growth initiatives that will expand our capabilities. We look forward to this year and beyond with confidence in our proposition, our teams, our technology and, ultimately, our sustained growth prospects."

Notice of FY-22 Results

All 2022 reported financial figures remain subject to audit and Equals is pleased to announce that it will report its final results for the year ended 31 December 2022 on Monday, 27 March 2023. The Group will also provide an update on trading in Q1-23.

There will be an in-person presentation for analysts at 9:30am on the day of the announcement, hosted by Ian Strafford-Taylor (CEO) and Richard Cooper (CFO) at the offices of Buchanan, 107 Cheapside, London EC2V 6DN. Please contact Buchanan for further details.

For retail investors, an audio webcast of the presentation with analysts will be made available on the Group's Investor Relations website ( www.equalsplc.com ) after 12pm on the day of results. A link will be provided in the FY-22 Results statement.

This announcement contains inside information.

- Ends -

For more information, please contact:

 Equals Group plc 
 Ian Strafford-Taylor, CEO              Tel: +44 (0) 20 7778 
  Richard Cooper, CFO                                   9308 
 Canaccord Genuity (Nominated Adviser 
  / Broker) 
 Max Hartley / Harry Rees               Tel: +44 (0) 20 7523 
 Buchanan (Financial Communications) 
 Henry Harrison-Topham / Toto Berger    Tel: +44 (0) 20 7466 
  equals@buchanan.uk.com                                5000 

Notes to Editors:

Equals Group is a technology-led international payments group augmented by highly personalised service for the payment needs of SME's whether these be FX, card payments or via Faster Payments. Founded in 2007, the Group listed on AIM in 2014. For more information, please visit www.equalsplc.com .

[a] Adjusted EBITDA is before share option charges and exceptional items.

[b] 253 working days in FY-21 and 250 in FY-22 which had 10 public holidays.

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January 17, 2023 02:00 ET (07:00 GMT)

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