• Revenue from continuing operations(1) up 15.7% to £50.7m (2014: £43.8m)
• Underlying operating profit(2) up 22.9% to £15.6m (2014: £12.7m)
• Underlying operating profit margin increased by 1.8 percentage points to 30.8% (2014: 29.0%)
• Excellent cash conversion at 97.4% (2014: 97.6%)
• Adjusted net debt(3) of £8.3m at period end (net cash of £1.2m at 31 December 2014)
• Basic earnings per share of 25.6p (2014; 20.6p)
• Recommended final dividend of 12.50p, increasing the total dividend for the year by 19% to 18.75p (2014: 15.70p)
• Group has invested in and successfully diversified its service offerings in the wider consumer legal services ("CLS") market through a number of acquisitions during the year:
- Fitzalan Partners ("Fitzalan") broadens the Group's operations into the UK Conveyancing services market
- Bush & Company ("Bush") extends the Group's core marketing and panel management expertise into Critical Care segment of the fragmented consumer legal services ("CLS") sector
• Focus within National Accident Helpline ("NAH") on higher quality, lower volume enquiries for Group's Panel Law Firms, driving an increase in gross profit margins
• Post period end acquisition of Searches UK further extends our conveyancing offering to customers
Russell Atkinson, CEO of NAHL, commented:
"2015 was a significant year for the Group which saw us become a broader, more diversified business while delivering a strong financial performance in terms of revenue, profitability and cash generation. The acquisitions of Bush and Fitzalan were in line with our strategic vision of being the UK's leading marketing and services provider in our chosen legal markets. We are very pleased with their integration and strong performance to date.
"Whilst NAH performed well and the strategic focus on higher quality, lower volume enquiries meant the business was able to deliver an increase in gross profit margins, the short term impact of the Government's proposed changes relating to small claims limits is likely to lead to reduced demand levels from panel law firms in the short-term. Therefore NAH anticipates generating reduced volumes of enquiries in 2016 and subsequently, a contraction in its profits. However the continued strong performance of Bush and Fitzalan as well as the strategic focus within NAH on higher quality claims means we expect to deliver earnings growth in the current financial year for the Group overall, albeit marginally below market expectations.
"The Group operates across a number of highly fragmented markets, in which we hold a strong position but retain relatively small market share, giving rise to compelling growth opportunities as these markets develop."