National Accident Helpline Pre-close Trading Update
The National Accident Helpline Group PLC (the “Group”) has today released its Pre-close Trading Update and Revised Banking Facility document.
Despite the results being significantly impacted by the pandemic, NAHL has responded well, with the revenue for the period covering the six months to 30 June 2020, is expected to be £20.4m. This, as to be expected with the current climate is down on the same period last year that saw £25.8m in revenue.
The Group has been productive and taken action to reduce costs, which has resulted in the identification of over £1m of annualised savings.
During the months of April and May, the number of conveyancing instructions came to a standstill for the Group, however following the reopening of the housing market, numbers quickly recovered in June, returning to pre-Covid-19 levels. However, personal injury enquiries are taking more time to recover and are currently at 50-60% of the prior year levels.
The Group’s Critical Care division remained resilient throughout the period, despite the pandemic, but there had been a “notable slowing of new enquiries as a result of the reduction in road traffic accidents and medical negligence incidents.”
Due to the pandemic, management of the Group “proactively” took steps to manage the balance sheet, resulting in net debt being reduced to £18.6m by the 30 June 2020, providing the Group with £6.4m of liquidity in the £25m of available revolving credit facility.
Following a previous announcement, following the 2019 Final Results, in that the Group may breach its banking covenants, the Board was pleased to announce that discussions with its lender, Yorkshire Bank, concluded successfully and reasonable levels of headroom have been agreed. More importantly, the Group “remained in full covenant compliance throughout this period and expected this to continue through to the end of the facility term, which was extended by 12 months to 31 December 2022.
Russell Atkinson, CEO of NAHL, commented:
“The first half of the year has been the most challenging in the Group’s history, following the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK in late February. Despite the operational and demand challenges that this situation imposed, the Group’s swift response enabled us to continue to support customers and clients across the Group while keeping our employees safe.
“Whilst it remains to be seen whether there will be further waves of Covid-19 in the UK that may have an impact on our business, I am pleased with the resilience that the Group has demonstrated in the first months of the pandemic and that the discussions with our bank, including the extension of the facility to December 2022, have concluded successfully.
“Throughout this period the health and wellbeing of our staff has been our priority. My thanks go to the talented and committed people that we employ across the Group whose dedication gives me confidence that we will emerge from this situation as a strong and growing business.”
* Underlying earnings is based on profit attributable to shareholders of NAHL (i.e. excluding profits attributable to non-controlling interests) before the deduction of non-underlying costs.