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Personal Group to continue its focus on "protecting the unprotected"

The impact of the virus could have a material impact on EBITDA for 2020 and into 2021 but the debt-free group remains confident that the business will remain profitable

Personal Group Holdings PLC -

Personal Group Holdings PLC (LON:PGH), the provider of employee services in the UK, has confirmed that its underlying earnings were ahead of expectations in 2019.

The group had tipped the wink last month about the better-than-expected performance and revealed Tuesday that its adjusted underlying earnings (EBITDA) clocked in at £11.0mln for 2019, down 4% from £11.4mln the year before but a bit better than investment analysts had been forecasting.

Profit before tax rose 3% to £10.5mln from £10.2mln the year before on revenue that jumped 28% to £70.9mln from £55.3mln.

The full-year dividend was hiked by 1.3% to 23.3p from 23.0p the previous year. The group has already paid a dividend of 5.9p in respect of the first quarter of the current year but said the second-quarter dividend will be reduced to 1.5p, albeit with the possibility of the company making good the deficit once the dust settles with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The company said it will keep the dividend situation for the rest of the year under review.

Personal Group noted hat its business will be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic but it is expected to remain profitable, supported by the group’s strong balance sheet.

“The impact of COVID-19 on the UK and world-wide economy is very far-reaching. It is clearly too early to accurately assess the final impact of the outbreak on our customers and our business; however, we have a robust recurring revenue model across different parts of the group, including insurance, our benefits platform Hapi, and Innecto Digital products. Long-established client relationships and repeat business forms the core of the Innecto and Let's Connect business models,” said Deborah Frost, the chief executive officer of Personal Group in the full-year results statement.

“The effect of COVID-19 is likely to have short as well as long term implications for the group – we anticipate our insurance claims ratios could increase this year but our messages about protecting the unprotected, being dependable and paying claims are well received by clients and build on the trust we already have with them, their employees and our policy-holders,” she added.

The group’s Let's Connect and Innecto revenues and profits are likely to be affected over the short-term by the global slowdown, as clients defer decisions about pay and benefits until later in the year.

Leaving aside the extraordinary circumstances caused by the pandemic, the group’s refreshed strategy is starting to show positive signs, Frost said.

Quick facts: Personal Group Holdings PLC

Price: 200 GBX

Market: AIM
Market Cap: £62.44 m

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