Universe Group posts annual profit jump

Universe Group, the supplier of payment and online loyalty systems, posted a rise in 2012 profit and revenue Thursday following a major restructuring.

Universe Group, the supplier of payment and online loyalty systems, posted a rise in 2012 profit and revenue Thursday following a major restructuring.

Pre-tax profit on continuing operations grew by 47% to £1.01m, compared to £0.69m a year earlier, as sales jumped 13% to £11.9m from £10.5m.

During the year, the company sold its loss-making manufacturing division to complete the group's restructuring as part of a strategy to become a more profitable business.

Trading performance was also strengthened by an equity placing at 2.3p per share which raised £1.53m.

Net debt at the end of the period fell to £19,000 from £1.76m.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) was up 19% to £2.15m on the prior year's £1.82m.

Sales were stronger in the second half, increasing 21% ahead of the first to £6.5m.

"Whilst there was some pressure on margins in our service operations, the group won significant incremental project work from its customers in 2012," the firm said.

"Project work boosted turnover in the second half, although an element of this was at a lower gross margin than normally would be expected. These factors are reflected in the group's profit margin for the year which was 37%, down slightly against 38% achieved in 2011."

The company said 2012 was a transformational year with new products and enhancements put in place.

Universe expects year-on-year improvement in 2013 as work continues to progress at an accelerated pace.

Shares fell 2.56% to 4.75p at 09:20 Thursday.

RD

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