FY23 Trading Update
24 January 2024
Lords, a leading distributor of building materials in the UK, is pleased to provide a trading update for the year ended 31 December 2023 (‘FY23’ or the ‘period’) ahead of publication of its FY23 Final Results in May 2024.
During the period the Group’s trading has again demonstrated Lords’ resilience and capability to deliver its growth strategy amidst the continuing subdued trading conditions. In the face of these conditions, Lords has made steady operational progress across both Merchanting and Plumbing & Heating divisions. Furthermore, seven additional sites across the UK have been added through acquisitive and organic growth, generating an expected £25 million of annualised revenues at maturity.
As a result, the Group expects to report, subject to audit, FY23 revenue of £463 million (FY22: £450 million) and FY23 adjusted EBITDA2 of approximately £26.6 million (FY22: £30.0 million), in line with current market expectations1, and adjusted profit before tax3 of approximately £11.0 million (FY22: £17.4 million).
The table below shows total revenue growth and like-for-like for FY23:
|Change in Total
|FY23 vs. FY22
|FY23 vs. FY22
|Plumbing & Heating (“P&H”)
Overall, the Group has experienced further resilient trading across the business, despite wider market headwinds, resulting in total sales growth of 2.8%.
In addition to its organic growth levers, the Group successfully executes a unique M&A strategy that is focused on creating market share gains, enhanced profitability and further diversifying revenue streams. Lords targets specialist, independent businesses that broaden product range or geographic reach in order to do this. The Merchanting and P&H markets remain highly fragmented, offering significant opportunity given Lords’ reputation as being an acquirer of choice in the market.
The Group continues to maintain a prudent and considered approach to inorganic growth and, whilst a pipeline of acquisition opportunities remains live, in the current environment the Group is committed to balance sheet discipline which will remain in FY24.
Renewables product range extension
Lords has strategically focused on product range extension in the renewables space in recent years, with strong growth drivers and market dynamics complementing Lords position in the supply chain.
In Q4 2023, the Government confirmed that the widely consulted Clean Heat Market Mechanism (‘CHMM’) will commence in Q2 2024. The CHMM will incentivise boiler manufacturers and homeowners to accelerate the transition towards renewable energy sources across the UK housing stock, increasing demand for renewable products including air source heat pumps.
Lords is well placed to benefit from a shift in demand towards air source heat pumps, enjoying successful and growing trading relationships with six air source heat pump manufacturers and achieving 60% revenue growth across its wider renewables range4 in FY23.
As at 31 December 2023, the Group had net debt5 of £28.5 million (30 June 2023: £38 million), backed by a freehold property portfolio with an estimated market value of not less than £15 million. The significant reduction in net debt, ahead of current market expectations6, reflects the Board’s focus during the period to reduce net debt through a number of successful management controls and initiatives and through the normalisation of working capital.
P&H working capital fully normalised as at 31 December 2023, in line with previous guidance at the 2023 interim results, following the resolution of the industry wide boiler supply issues in 2022.
Current Trading and Outlook
Throughout FY23 Lords has demonstrated resilient organic growth, in a sector which has seen a challenging period., The Group continues to successfully apply a number of steps to manage costs and reduce debt.
The markets in which we operate in are expected to remain subdued into FY24 and, whilst there are signs of improvement in customer demand, these signals remain intermittent and price deflation persists. This has led the Group to continue to take a prudent approach to FY24 in order to give the market dynamics appropriate time to recalibrate as economic volatility reduces.
Shanker Patel, Chief Executive Officer of Lords, commented:
“Like many of our peers it has been a challenging year but the fundamentals of our business have underpinned a resilient performance that I’m incredibly proud of.
“Our scale and profitability in both Merchanting and Plumbing & Heating have benefitted from our organic growth levers as we build our geographic footprint, extend our product range and build our digital sales expertise. We maintain an ongoing ability to execute earnings enhancing M&A, but balance sheet discipline remains a core consideration. In that regard it is pleasing to report net debt reduction ahead of market expectations. As market conditions improve we are confident that we are exceptionally well positioned for growth.”
(1) Current consensus analyst forecasts are for FY23 revenues of between £445 million and £450 million, FY23 Adjusted EBITDA of between £26.2
million and £27.0 million, and Adjusted Profit Before Tax of between £12.1 million and £13.2 million.
(2) Adjusted EBITDA is EBITDA (defined as earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation and, in accordance with IFRS) but also
excluding exceptional items, the impact of an in period change to the Group’s stock provisioning policy and share-based payments.
(3) Adjusted profit before tax is profit before tax before exceptional items, share based payments and amortisation of intangible assets.
(4) Air Source Heat Pumps, Controls, Under Floor Heating, Air Con, Electric Boilers
(5) Net debt is defined as borrowings less cash and cash equivalents.
(6) Current consensus analyst forecasts are for FY23 year-end net debt of between £30.0 million and £32.6 million
The information contained within this announcement is deemed by the Company to constitute inside information pursuant to Article 7 of EU Regulation 596/2014 as it forms part of UK domestic law by virtue of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 as amended. Upon the publication of this announcement via a Regulatory Information Service, this inside information is now considered to be in the public domain.
FOR FURTHER ENQUIRIES:
|Lords Group Trading plc
|Shanker Patel, Chief Executive Officer
|Tel: +44 (0) 20 7466 5000
|Chris Day, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer
|Cavendish Capital Markets Limited (Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker)
|Tel: +44 (0)20 7220 0500
|Ben Jeynes / Dan Hodkinson (Corporate Finance)
|Julian Morse / Henry Nicol (Sales)
|Berenberg (Joint Broker)
Matthew Armitt / Richard Bootle / Detlir Elezi
|Tel: +44 (0)20 3207 7800
|Tel: +44 (0) 20 7466 5000
|Henry Harrison-Topham / Steph Whitmore / Abby Gilchrist
Notes to editors:
Lords is a specialist distributor of building, plumbing, heating and DIY goods. The Group principally sells to local tradesmen, small to medium sized plumbing and heating merchants, construction companies and retails directly to the general public.
The Group operates through the following two divisions:
- Merchanting: supplies building materials and DIY goods through its network of merchant businesses and online platform capabilities. It operates both in the 'light side' (building materials and timber) and 'heavy side' (civils and landscaping), through 31 locations in the UK
- Plumbing and Heating: a specialist distributor in the UK of plumbing and heating products to a UK network of independent merchants, installers and the general public. The division offers its customers an attractive proposition through a multi-channel offering. The division operates over 17 locations enabling nationwide next day delivery service.
Lords was established over 35 years ago as a family business with its first retail unit in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire. Since then, the Group has grown to a business operating from 48 sites. Lords aims to become a £500 million turnover building materials distributor group by 2024 as it grows its national presence.
Lords was admitted to trading on AIM in July 2021 with the ticker LORD.L. For additional information please visit www.lordsgrouptradingplc.co.uk.