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Final Results

Keystone Law (AIM: KEYS), the fast growing, UK Top 100, challenger law firm, today announces its final results for the year ended 31 January 2019 ('FY2019').

Financial Highlights

  • Strong Revenue increase of 35.1% to £42.7 million (FY2018: £31.6 million)
  • Adjusted PBT1 of £5.1 million (FY2018: £3.3 million) representing growth of 56.8%
  • Adjusted PBT1 margin rising to 12.0% from 10.4% in FY2018
  • Basic EPS of 12.2 pence (on 31.3 million shares) is up from 6.0 pence (on 26.3 million shares)
  • Adjusted EPS2 of 13.4 pence is up from 9.4 pence
  • Operating cash conversion of 91% driven by underlying strongly cash generative business model
  • Proposed 6.5 pence dividend, bringing full year dividend to 9.0 pence, in line with policy set out on IPO3
  • First full year final results reported comfortably ahead of market expectations

1 Adjusted PBT for 2019 is calculated by adding amortisation and share based payment costs back to PBT. For 2018 flotation costs and loan note interest costs have also been added back. Details of these calculations are shown in the financial review.
2 The adjustments made to profit in calculating adjusted PBT have been made to earnings in order to calculate adjusted EPS.
3 On IPO the Group stated that it intended to pay a dividend of 2/3rds PAT for the year ending 31 January 2019 with a progressive dividend policy thereafter.

Business highlights

  • Lawyer recruitment strong with accepted offers by Principals1 up 6.8% to 63 (2018: 59)
  • Principal1 lawyer numbers rising 13.5% from 244 to 277 and increasing demand for juniors to support them
  • Total fee earners have increased 20.6% from 266 to 321
  • Ongoing investment in technology focused on enhancing security and visibility across the IT estate as well as enhancing operational efficiency and lawyer experience
  • Significant external recognition, once again featuring in both The Lawyer magazine's list of the Top 100 UK law firms based on revenue and Legal Week magazine's Best Legal Advisers Report
  • Group well positioned, with clear growth strategy, to exploit substantial £9 billion UK legal mid-market opportunity

1 Principal lawyers are the senior lawyer who own the service company ("Pod") which contracts with Keystone. The relationship between Keystone and its lawyers is governed by two agreements: a service agreement (which governs the commercial terms and is between the Pod company and Keystone) and a compliance agreement (which governs the behaviour of lawyers and is between each lawyer and Keystone). Pods can employ more than one fee earner.

James Knight, Chief Executive Officer of Keystone Law, commented: "I am happy to report that the business has performed strongly throughout our first full year as a public company and as such has delivered good growth across all the business KPIs. Revenue and profit growth have converted to cash and this means that we are in a position to pay out a dividend of 2/3rds adjusted PAT which is in line with what we said at the time of the IPO.

"The benefits offered by the Keystone business model, as well as the increasing brand recognition within the legal profession, continue to make Keystone a highly attractive proposition for high calibre lawyers seeking a different way to develop their practice. As such I strongly believe that Keystone is well-positioned to take advantage of the significant market opportunity in the UK mid-market legal services market, which we believe is ripe for disruption.

"The current year has started well and the activity of the existing lawyers, together with the strength of our recruitment pipeline, gives me great confidence that the business will deliver another year of strong performance and profit growth. I look forward to another exciting year of growth and development as we continue to pursue our strategy for success."

 

For further information:

Keystone Law Group plc
James Knight, Chief Executive Officer Tel: +44 (0) 20 3319 3700
Ashley Miller, Finance Director www.keystonelaw.co.uk
Panmure Gordon (UK) Limited
(Nominated Adviser and Broker)
Dominic Morley (Corporate Finance) Tel: +44 (0) 20 7886 2500
Erik Anderson (Corporate Broking) www.panmure.com
Media enquiries:
Buchanan
Henry Harrison-Topham / Steph Watson / Hannah Ratcliff Tel: +44 (0) 20 7466 5000
[email protected] www.buchanan.uk.com

 

Notes to editors

Keystone Law is a UK Top 100, fast growing, profitable and cash generative challenger law firm. Established in 2002, Keystone is one of the first platform models disrupting the traditional law firms operating within the legal services mid-market. Keystone's model permits rapid scalability, enabling the Group to increase the number of revenue generating lawyers more quickly than the traditional model.

As a full service law firm, Keystone delivers conventional legal services across more than 20 service areas and over 50 industry sectors to a client base comprising predominantly of SMEs and private individuals. These services are delivered by over 270 experienced self-employed lawyers who work from their own offices; with no fixed remuneration their fees are calculated with direct reference to the income they generate for the Group. The lawyers are fully supported by the Group's central office team of approximately 40 employees, and are therefore able to focus entirely on business development and the delivery of legal work.

With the head office located in the heart of London's legal district on Chancery Lane, the Group uses its bespoke proprietary software platform to enable Keystone's lawyers to interact with the central office team and each other in an easy and efficient manner, whilst extensive networking and social events engender a strong sense of belonging to the Keystone family. The platform also drives interaction, co-operation and a strong corporate culture across the business.

Keystone joined the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange in November 2017, raising £15 million, under the ticker KEYS. More information can be found at: www.keystonelaw.co.uk/

The information contained within this announcement is deemed by the Group to constitute inside information as stipulated under the Market Abuse Regulation (EU) No. 596/2014. Upon the publication of this announcement via a Regulatory Information Service, this inside information is now considered to be in the public domain. The person responsible for arranging the release of this announcement on behalf of the Group is Ashley Miller, Finance Director.