Ardonagh Group (formerly Towergate) announce half year 2017 financial results

Ardonagh-Group-announce-half-year-2017-results

Financial results show combined strength of newly formed Group

Significant uplift in profitability and sales underpinned by strong Organic1 growth

Accelerated execution of transformation plan

The Ardonagh Group has announced its first set of financial results for the six months ended 30th June 2017.

The Group, created in June 2017, brings together Autonet, Chase Templeton, Direct Group, Price Forbes and Towergate and is comprised of a network of more than 100 office locations globally and a workforce of over 5,500 people.

John Tiner, Chairman of The Ardonagh Group, commented: “This is a strong set of results, particularly in the context of the substantial activity undertaken by the team to launch the Group earlier this year, including the successful completion of a refinancing to optimise our capital structure.

“We have delivered a solid operating performance with good underlying organic growth and significant improvement in Adjusted EBITDA, while accelerating our investment plan and aligning resources with our new segmental operating model incorporating Distribution, Wholesale and MGA & Services.”

Group operational highlights:

  • Successful c.£800 million bond issuance to global, blue chip investors completed in June 2017
  • Additional equity investment of over £20 million from minority investors endorses Group strategy
  • Strong operational performance, with income growth of +3.7% and Adjusted EBITDA2 up +21.3%
  • Transformation plan ahead of schedule with £40 million annualised savings delivered and £19 million completed in the period
  • Pro forma net secured leverage decreased from 5.67x to 5.48x as a result of improvement in LTM Pro Forma Adjusted EBITDA3 and higher pro forma operating cash of £57 million versus £42 million
  • Leaders appointed for new segmental operating structure
  • Continued investment in top quality income generators to drive pipeline of further organic growth
  • Robust pipeline of M&A opportunities with six highly accretive acquisitions completed in Distribution since December 2016 and acquisition of Healthy Pets completed in September 2017

Segmental operational highlights:

Distribution

  • Good Organic growth of +2.1% resulting from improved retention and positive new business developments
  • Significant improvements in EBITDA margin driven by business transformation and continued cost focus
  • Accelerated investment in our Broker System Consolidation project expected to deliver benefits ahead of plan

Wholesale

  • Strong Organic growth of +12.3% driven by favourable foreign exchange movements and impact of new producers
  • Positive steps taken to increase presence in London Wholesale Market with priority on revenue driving initiatives
  • Strong pipeline of future hires supports the Group’s ambition to deliver consistent growth above market

MGA & Services

  • Margin improvement through targeted cost control, focus shifting to growth and remedial action of certain portfolios
  • Strong pipeline of new business in Services and accelerated delivery of intra-group synergy opportunities
  • Significant progress on key income initiatives including International MGA and London Markets
  • Investment continues in system upgrades, sales and technical capabilities in Household and Agricultural lines

David Ross, Chief Executive of The Ardonagh Group, commented:

“It gives me great pleasure today to be sharing this first set of financial results for The Ardonagh Group.

The past six months have seen the successful refinancing of our capital structure, the acquisition of Chase Templeton and Direct Group and the launch of our new brand, resulting in the creation of the UK’s leading independent insurance services provider.

The progress we report today is testament to both the strength of the individual brands in the Group and its combined power in a market which continues to present us with significant opportunities.

We have grouped our businesses into operating segments: Distribution, Wholesale, MGA & Services. In August, we announced that Gordon Newman will lead our Wholesale segment, comprising our Bishopsgate and Price Forbes businesses; two distinct and leading specialty brands which continue to attract the very best talent in the market. Janice Deakin will lead our Distribution segment, with oversight of our broking brands including Towergate and Autonet. Paul Dilley will lead our MGA segment and Adrian Brown will lead on Services.

Our clear strategy, validated by global investor support during our refinancing in June, focuses on top-line growth, both organic and through carefully targeted M&A activity. Harnessing the Group’s combined buying power continues to present opportunities in both income and EBITDA and we expect significant benefits from cross-selling and up-selling across the Group companies.

The numbers we are reporting today reflect a solid business with strong underlying growth, performing ahead of expectations and against a backdrop of significant change. We head into the second half of 2017 with strong trading momentum and ample liquidity to support continued targeted investments in income and cost initiatives.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our people for their continued and unwavering commitment to a Group they feel truly proud of; a genuinely best in class company.”