Universe Group proposition remains compelling and full of potential

Universe Group plc (LON:UNG), a leading developer and supplier of retail management solutions, payment and loyalty systems, has announced its audited results for the year ended 31 December 2020.

Highlights

·        Total revenues £19.75 million (2019: £22.44 million) – decrease reflecting COVID down-turn in customers’ fuel retailing activities with recovery expected in 2021

·        Gross profit margin at 43.5% (2019: 51.8%) – reflecting the change in product mix

·        Adjusted EBITDA £1.94 million (2019: £3.89 million)

·        Loss for the year £0.62 million (2019 restated: loss of £1.03 million)

·        Diluted loss per share 0.24p (2019 restated: 0.40p)

·        Net debt at year end £4.69 million (31 December 2019: net cash £0.37 million) resulting from investment in inventories, £4.82 million at 31 December 2020 (31 December 2019: £1.13 million)

·        Renewed material loyalty customer, a major international oil and gas group, in Europe-wide 5-year deal post period end

·        Maintained service levels during pandemic to ensure clients kept trading in the vital food and fuel retailing sectors

·        Extended payments offering and won new payment clients in the year

·        Won material payments contract renewal with substantial grocery retailer, currently in pilot

·     Completed the integration of Dublin-based Celtech, a class-leading developer of cloud-based retail and wholesale management solutions, acquired in April 2019

Andrew Blazye, Executive Chairman of Universe, commented:

“As 2020 unfolded, the Group took all necessary steps to sustain its customers, employees and operations, in what was a very unpredictable environment.  I am pleased to say that we closed the year with a business which, by delivering commendable financial results, has proven its value to the marketplace in the toughest of times.

“By winning new, multi-year contracts with key payment clients and being awarded a major contract extension for a loyalty customer, it is clear our proposition remains compelling and full of potential.

“During the pandemic, we saw a delay in the rollout of a payments project for a substantial grocery customer, which is now in pilot, and the slowdown of some early-stage engagement in our latest generation of retail management solutions.

“However, we believe this slowdown will reverse as the UK recovers from the pandemic restrictions and convenience retailers regain their management bandwidth to install more advanced, insightful software that our latest offerings provide.

“Through high customer service levels and new multi-year contract wins, current management has successfully navigated a very difficult year and so has laid the foundations for a promising future. We look forward to a fuller update on strategy and outlook, led by our new CEO and CFO, at the forthcoming AGM.”

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