Park Group plc
("Park" or the "Group")
At the Company's Annual General Meeting, to be held today (22 September 2016) at 12 noon in The Vice Presidents Room, Tranmere Rovers Football Club Limited, Birkenhead CH42 9PN, Laura Carstensen, Chairman of Park Group plc, will make the following statement:
"Followers of Park and investors will know that Peter Johnson, who founded the business in 1966, retired from the Company in June this year. I was delighted to succeed him as Chairman and am pleased to provide the following update to shareholders:
"On 14 June, I reported that in the year to March 2016, Park delivered an 8.5 per cent increase in profit before tax to £11.9 million, on billings which were 3.3 per cent higher than the previous year at £385.0 million. I also stated that indications for the current year were encouraging and am pleased to advise that Park has maintained this momentum.
"The importance of new product development is at the heart of Park's progress and success on both the Consumer and Corporate sides of our business, and we continue to utilise the latest trends and developments in information technology and mobile smart devices to keep ahead.
"Our Corporate business continues to flourish. It offers a wide range of gift cards, vouchers and digital reward products as well as bespoke on-line systems enabling businesses to motivate, communicate and incentivise their employees and customers alike. We supply to around twenty eight thousand UK businesses in a market estimated to be worth over £5 billion.
"We have further enhanced our Everyday Benefits proposition, a cost effective voluntary benefits offer which allows employees to make savings as they load value onto their cards, to then use when shopping on the high street, at the supermarket, to book holidays and to get discounted experience days out. Our digital offering also continues to expand with new products and services. In June, we launched Evolve, an on-line, fully responsive digital platform offering instant rewards through a branded on-line platform. 40 businesses have already used the system including household names such as EDF, Canon, Office Angels and Coral and a strong pipeline of activity gives great reason for optimism. Engage, our scheme management portal launched last year has also been well received. Engage allows corporate users to create and control web or smart device based programmes for their customers or staff.
"Park's relationship with MasterCard continues to develop and broaden. We started in 2015 by issuing the "Anywhere" and "Online" prepaid cards using a third party and we are currently working towards launching our first MasterCard product under our own issuing license.
"Our Consumer business offers customers the ability to save for the festive season typically over a 45 week period, to purchase a range of gift cards, vouchers, hampers and gifts. The marketing campaign for 2016 ended a few months ago and has resulted in an order book some four per cent ahead of the previous year. Marketing for the 2017 festive period is already underway with our television advertising campaign beginning this week. Over the past few months, we have also improved our website functionality and launched a mobile app, all as part of our commitment to constant customer service enhancement.
"Park is a seasonal business, which is usually loss making in the first half, as over three quarters of revenue is generated in the second half of the year. Nevertheless the first half performance is crucial as it lays the foundation for the full year's result as orders are secured during the period, but not dispatched and invoiced until the second half. As a seasonal business our full year results will be determined over the coming calendar months as we complete the deliveries for our prepaid consumer customers and process orders for our corporate and e-commerce customers.
"Cash balances, including monies held in trust, are around £18 million ahead of this time last year at £200 million. This increased figure largely reflects the growth in our order books, principally for the highly seasonal consumer business.
"Park is well placed with strong order books and sound finances. The experience gained over many successful years, coupled with our sophisticated and proven delivery and monitoring systems, mean we can be confident of another positive outcome. Trading is in line with expectations as we enter the busiest period of the year. We are therefore confident of another successful year ahead."
"This morning, we also announced that Mr. John Gittins has been appointed to the board as a non-executive director. John has more than 20 years' experience as a Chief Financial Officer at listed PLCs in a range of sectors and territories and over six years' experience as a non-executive director. We look forward to working with him and are confident that we will benefit from his extensive experience and expertise."
For further information please contact:
Park Group plc
Arden Partners plc
Tel: 0151 653 1700
Tel: 020 7614 5920
Tel: 020 7920 3150