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Interim Results

Differentiated model and continued momentum supports confidence and reinstated dividend

Keystone Law (AIM: KEYS), the fast growing, UK Top 100, challenger law firm, today announces its interim results for the six months ended 31 July 2020 (‘H1-2021’ or the ‘period’).

Financial Highlights

  • Revenue growth of 6.5% to £24.5million (H1-2020: £23.0 million)
  • Adjusted PBT£2.2 million (H1-2020: £2.7 million)
  • Basic EPS 5.0 pence (H1-2020: 6.3 pence)
  • Strong operating cash conversion2 at 133% with cash generated from operations of £3.3 million (H1-2020: £2.6 million)
  • Strong cash position and debt free; net cash £6.9m (H1-2020: £6.4m)
  • Dividend payments recommenced with two interim ordinary dividends of 3.3 pence per share each declared (total 6.6 pence per share)

1 Adjusted PBT is calculated utilising profit before tax and adding back amortisation for both periods; for the current year share based payments and one off costs associated with property relocation is also added back.

2 Operating cash conversion is calculated utilising cash generated from operations and dividing it by the PBT after non cash movements.

Business Highlights

  • Moved central office team seamlessly to remote working
  • Service delivery 100% operational throughout the period
  • COVID-19 pandemic initially impacted new client instructions significantly before recovering to near pre-pandemic levels by end of period
  • Effect on overall activity levels mitigated by ongoing client work; so decrease less pronounced but recovery slower. Still c. 5% below pre COVID-19 levels at end of Jul
  • Principal1 lawyer recruitment remained strong following initial lengthening of processes
    • Number of qualified new applicants rose significantly by 27% to 145 (H1-2020: 114)
    • Principal lawyers accepting offers increased by 14% to 41 (H1-2020: 36)
    • 27 new Principals joined (net 19) (H1 2020: 33 (net 27)
    • 17 Pod members joined (net 14) (H1 2020: 26 (net 20)
  • Performance in the period has been very satisfactory in light of the challenging circumstances and whilst there remains uncertainty about the future we are confident that the Group remains in a good position to build a strong platform for future growth

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 pleased to report that, in what has been a challenging environment, the business has delivered a very satisfactory performance.  This period has served to demonstrate both the financial and operational resilience of Keystone as well as showcasing how perfectly well-suited it is to the needs of lawyers who wish to work in a more modern, flexible and collaborative environment.  I am confident that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted some of the benefits of the Keystone model to many more lawyers and this will further support the business as we move forward.

“Whilst there remains uncertainty as to how COVID-19 will impact the rest of the year, I am confident that we are in a strong position to deal with any challenges and continue to build for the future.”

 

For further information:

Keystone Law Group plc

James Knight, Chief Executive Officer
Ashley Miller, Finance Director

Tel: +44 (0) 20 3319 3700
www.keystonelaw.co.uk


Panmure Gordon (UK) Limited
(Nominated Adviser and Broker)

Dominic Morley (Corporate Finance)
Erik Anderson (Corporate Broking)

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7886 2500
www.panmure.com

Media enquiries:

Buchanan

Henry Harrison-Topham / Steph Watson / Hannah Ratcliffe
[email protected]

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7466 5000
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 345 experienced self-employed lawyers, many of whom employ junior lawyers to work alongside them. Working from their own offices and 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 45 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: https://www.keystonelaw.com/