Knights today provides a trading update for the full year ended 30 April 2022.
In line with the trading update made on 22 March 2022, the Group anticipates revenue for the full year of c.£125.5m, up by 22% compared to the prior year (2021: £103.2m). Underlying PBT is anticipated to be a minimum of £18.1m (2021: £18.4m).
Net debt as at 30 April 2022 is expected to be £29m (30 April 2021: £21m), £2m ahead of analyst expectations, reflecting our continued focus on cash conversion and maintaining industry leading lock-up and debtor days.
The Group's strong position in its markets, increased scale, national reputation, differentiated model and unique culture is enabling it to attract high quality talent, increasingly from Top 40 law firms, with strong client followings.
Acquisitions announced over the year have integrated well and are performing as expected, supporting Knights' organic growth in its key markets. There is a good pipeline of acquisition opportunities and the Group continues to selectively review a growing number of potential targets, focusing on firms of quality, with a strong cultural fit and which provide entry to new markets, or bolt on opportunities to existing offices.
As announced separately today, Knights has agreed to acquire Coffin Mew, a leading independent law firm, providing entry into new key markets, including Portsmouth, Southampton, Brighton and Newbury, and significantly expanding the Group's presence in the South of England.
The Group also announces today that Richard King intends to step down from his role as Chief Operating Officer. Having put in place strong operational infrastructure to support the scaling up of the business, both organically and through acquisition, Richard has decided to pursue other opportunities; he will leave the Company on 31 May 2022.
David Beech, CEO of Knights, commented:
"The Group has performed as anticipated in our update in March and we are encouraged by the positive trading momentum we are seeing in the current year.
"Our reputation, culture and model continue to resonate with top industry talent and we are pleased to see an increased proportion of new recruits joining us from the Top 40. We have a strong pipeline of acquisition opportunities of quality independent law firms and are delighted to welcome the talented team from Coffin Mew to Knights today, who have built a strong reputation as one of the leading independent law firms in the South East.
"On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Richard for his invaluable contribution to Knights. He has been instrumental in creating our robust operational backbone, including installing automation where appropriate in the business, which positions us with strong foundations for further growth. We wish him all the best for the future."
Knights will provide a further update on trading with its full year results announcement in July 2022.