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Learning Technologies Group jumps as it reports profits ahead of expectations for 2019

The digital learning specialist highlighted “good organic momentum” from cross-selling initiatives and product development, as well as a return to growth for its content & services arm

Learning Technologies Group PLC - Learning Technologies Group reports profits ahead of expectations for 2019

Learning Technologies Group PLC (LON:LTG) has reported profits for its 2019 financial year are “ahead of expectations” as recurring revenues surged thanks to its Software & Platforms business.

In a trading update, the AIM-listed firm reported that for the year ended 31 December statutory pre-tax profit was £14.3mln, 316% ahead of the prior year, while revenues jumped 39% to £130.1mln.

READ: Learning Technologies to acquire Moodle specialist, Open LMS

The company highlighted “good organic momentum” from cross-selling initiatives and product development, as well as a return to growth for its content & services arm.

Looking ahead, LTG said its current financial year had “started well” and is in line with management expectations, adding that it has not yet seen any material impact from the coronavirus outbreak on its performance.

However, the company said that while they expected growth in recurring revenues to continue, content projects may be impacted as customers managed their own cash positions and new business wins were delayed.

In light of the potential impact of the pandemic, LTG said it was taking “proactive measures to prioritise the strong liquidity and net cash position of the group”, including the postponement of its final dividend payment of 0.5p per share and the payment of director bonuses until market conditions stabilised.

The company is also reducing its marketing, travel and capital expenditure and has postponed salary increases and recruitment until 2021.

LTG estimates the combined measures will save over £13mln in cash in 2020, with further measures to be implemented if appropriate.

"2019 was an exceptional year for LTG.  We saw excellent momentum in our Software & Platform businesses, and a return to organic growth in Content & Services, as expected.  I am particularly pleased to see our investment in product development and cross-selling initiatives supporting organic growth, while we continue to improve margins and cash performance”, said chief executive Jonathan Satchell.

“Whilst we are in a strong financial position with good liquidity, we are working hard to limit the impact of [coronavirus] on our business and performance, and have extensive contingency planning in place to mitigate the risks from the unprecedented climate we are in.  As part of our planning, the board has taken immediate and prudent action to protect our strong liquidity position until market conditions stabilise", he added.

In a note, analysts at Peel Hunt, which rate LTG at ‘buy’ with a price target of 160p, said while a downgrading of forecasts was “inevitable”, they did not believe that it will threaten the existence or the strategic direction of the company.

“We feel this will be a business that will seek to emerge from this crisis on the forward foot.  Whilst at this stage many plans are put on hold it will be interesting to see what M&A opportunities will emerge for companies that weather this storm well”, they added.

The shares jumped 3.7% to 113.4p in early deals on Tuesday.

--Adds broker comment and share price--

Quick facts: Learning Technologies Group PLC

Price: 136.3 GBX

Market: AIM
Market Cap: £1.01 billion


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