Begbies Traynor sees fall in revenues and profit

LISTED FIRM BEGBIES TRAYNOR continued to see the recession bite as it posted declines in both revenue and profit.

Revenue for the year ended 30 April 2012 was £57.7m, compared to £60.6m for the same period in 2011. Adjusted profit before tax was £7.4m, compared with £8.1m in 2011.

The firm also posted a statutory loss for the year of £5.7m. However, the firm has managed to make significant savings after restructuring in the last year.

The firm reduced gross borrowings to £24.4m from £26.6m and deferred its £5m tax liabilities.

It has also reduced net debt to £20.1m from £22.5m in line with banking facilities as well as giving itself £15.3m headroom.

Its core insolvency function saw operational profits marginally increase to £13.7m from £13.6m in 2011.

Other savings and changes were made by the firm when it offloaded its overseas operations, and sold its tax division to Smith & Williamson and its Red Flag division to chairman Ric Traynor. Begbies now employs 563 people which is 6% lower compared to a year ago.

Analysts Shore Capital and Canaccord Genuity have given the firm the thumbs up, claiming its reduction in borrowing and restructured setup will see shareholders likely to receive between 7% and 8% yield as they believe it has been undervalued at 65p.

Begbies also announced that executive director Geoff Hill has resigned from the board. He was responsibile for the group’s tax and global risk practices.

Managing partner for London and the South East Mark Fry has joined the board as director responsible for insolvency and restructuring.

Meanwhile, Graham McInnes, who joined the company as finance director in 2004, has also stepped down from his role as corporate development director, to take a non-executive appointment.

The board will now comprise of three executive directors and two non-executive directors.

Chairman Traynor said: “In a year of progress for the group, we have disposed of our tax, red flag and offshore businesses and delivered a resilient financial performance following the actions taken to reduce the group’s cost base.

“Having re-focused the business, we are now operating in a more stable environment with the benefit of a strengthened financial position and a core business which has retained its market leadership. While our markets remain challenging and we do not anticipate a substantial improvement in the near term, we remain committed to maximising the performance of and growing our cash-generative and profitable business, both organically and through acquisitions.”

The company’s annual general meeting is scheduled to take place in October.

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