Mears Group increases its 2016 full year dividend by 6%

DividendMax Ltd.

Mears Group increases its 2016 full year dividend by 6%

Group revenue of £940.1m (2015: £881.1m), reflecting strong organic growth in Housing following a record year for new contract bidding in 2015.

Housing revenue of £787.5m (2015: £735.1m), reflecting strong organic growth underpinned by the growth in Housing Management.

 Housing operating margin of 5.6% (2015: 5.8%) reflects some dilution from the record number of new contract mobilisations.

Service quality remains our key differentiator; the proportion of customers rating our service as 'excellent' was maintained at the record level of 91% (2015: 91%).

Care revenue increased by 5% to £152.6m (2015: £146.0m), reflecting the full-year impact of the acquisition of Care at Home from Care UK.

Rationalisation of our Care business - closure of circa 20% of Care branches and redirection of activities towards maintaining a portfolio of good quality contracts that can provide clear and sustainable margins with more sophisticated clients.

Care operating results reflect the cost of care rationalisation. Excellent progress made in securing charge rate increases following the introduction of the National Living Wage.

EBITDA cash conversion of 70% (2015: 99%) is below our historic norm. Average net debt of £85m (2015: £68m) and net debt at 31 December 2016 of £12.4m (2015: net cash of £0.8m), reflecting the working capital expansion required to fund organic growth, a changing sales mix and an outflow of £10m relating to deferred consideration payable in respect of the acquisition of Omega.

Total dividend increased by 6% to 11.70p per share (2015: 11.00p), reflecting the Board's confidence in the underlying performance of the Group and the future.

New contract wins of circa £500 million (2015: £1 billion); Housing awards of over £250m with a conversion rate of 39% (2015: £900m and 49%); and Care awards of over £200m with a conversion rate of 74% (2015: £80m and 63%).

Order book at £3.1 billion (2015: £3.5 billion) and a solid pipeline of new opportunities.

Visibility of 94% of consensus forecast revenue for 2017 and in excess of 82% for 2018 (2015: 96% and 82% respectively).

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