Continuing trend of profitable growth and working capital improvement
DWF, the global provider of integrated legal and business services, today issues the following trading update for its financial year ended 30 April 2022 (FY22).
- The Group expects to report:
o net revenue of c£350m (unaudited) reflecting like-for-like (1) growth of more than 6%, including 9% growth in DWF’s biggest market, the UK
o adjusted profit before tax of not less than £41m, in line with market expectations and 20% higher than the prior year
o lock-up days at circa 180 days (FY21: 186 days)
- Agreement reached with Hauzen, an independent law firm in Hong Kong, that extends the Group's global network of associations
- Healthy pipeline of M&A opportunities under consideration
- Confident in medium term guidance provided in July 2021
The Group enjoyed strong activity levels in the year, delivering like-for-like revenue growth of more than 6%. The UK was a particular standout market with 9% revenue growth.
Growth continued in H2, with business activity and utilisation having normalised from the peak of H1, as colleagues took much-deserved holiday after almost two years of pandemic restrictions. Despite an increase in Covid related sickness absence during Q4 (which has now normalised), the rate of revenue growth during that period was 8% reflecting momentum that gives confidence in the FY23 outlook.
Adjusted profit before tax is in line with expectations (2) and 20% ahead of a strong prior year. This represents a 1.6 percentage point increase in adjusted PBT margin to 11.7%.
Working capital has continued to trend in line with previously stated targets with lockup days now at circa 180.
Sir Nigel Knowles, Chief Executive Officer, said: "The FY22 results demonstrate significant progress towards our medium term guidance which we are confident will continue during FY23. We have enjoyed strong like-for-like growth and a 20% increase in adjusted profit before tax, underpinned by our integrated model and our less cyclical businesses, such as insurance, litigation and regulatory work, where we do not see the sort of volatility that can occur in more transaction focussed firms.
"We are continuing to build out our international footprint, with the latest agreement signed with Hauzen in Hong Kong. This is a key global financial centre and we see a clear opportunity to increase activity focused on areas where we have sector strength, but without overcommitting operationally.
"As our integrated model matures, we expect strong organic growth to continue and we are also seeing a number of opportunities for future M&A. Whilst we are mindful of the ongoing inflationary backdrop and geopolitical uncertainties, we look forward to making more progress in FY23 and delivering further value to all of our stakeholders."
DWF will publish its full‐year results on 21 July 2022.
The information contained within this announcement is deemed to constitute inside information as stipulated under the Market Abuse Regulations (EU) No. 596/2014 as it forms part of United Kingdom domestic law by virtue of the European (Withdrawal) Act 2018. Upon the publication of this announcement, this inside information is now considered to be in the public domain.
The person responsible for making this announcement on behalf of the Company is Chris Stefani, Group Chief Financial Officer.
For further information:
DWF Group plc
James Igoe +44(0)7971 783533
Head of Communications & IR
Sam Turvey +44(0)20 7379 5151
1. Like-for-like ('LfL') revenue growth removes both the impact of acquisitions and restructured operations.
2. DWF believes consensus adjusted PBT, prior to this announcement, was £40.8m