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Leaders Romans report £30m pre-tax loss – but cash in the bank and ready to hit acquisition trail

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Fri 27 Sep 2019

Leaders Romans report £30m pre-tax loss – but cash in the bank and ready to hit acquisition trail

The latest Leaders Romans Group accounts show a £30m pre-tax loss in 2018 plus debts falling due in the next five years – but £11m in the bank, and underlying operational profits of £17.6m.

Michael Palmer, chief finance officer at Leaders Romans Group, sounded an upbeat note, suggesting more acquisitions.

He told EYE: “LRG have just released our company accounts for 2018 which show revenue is up 3.2% and our operational profit is £17.6m.

“Sales and lettings volumes are up year on year and our business has undergone a refinance of our banking facilities to allow increased acquisition activity over the next five years.”

However, while the latest accounts paint a bleak picture in terms of pre-tax losses, the documents – to be posted on Companies House – also sound an upbeat tone.

The papers say that the group “continued to perform well in 2018”, with “consistent gains in market share” across lettings.

The documentation adds: “We will continue to adapt and remain agile to meet the challenges ahead, with Brexit uncertainty tempering housing transactions and implementation of the tenant fee fan . . . we aim to provide our customers with service offerings they want alongside excellent customer service.”

In the 12 months to December 31, 2018, the Berkshire-headquartered group’s revenue was £118,347,123, compared with £86,012,809 for the previous accounting period – nine months to the end of 2017.

Operating profit for last year was £17,639,330, compared with £14,429,355 for the previous nine-month accounting period.

The pre-tax loss last year was £30,275,956, compared with a loss of £20,563,669 for the nine months ended December 31, 2017.

Creditors, including bank loans and holders of loan notes, at the end of last year were owed £263,875,611.

The accounts list shareholders, directors and former directors who hold loan notes. For example, former director Vince Courtney was owed almost £1.4m by the end of last year.

At the end of last year, the group held cash of £10,953,653, down from the £13,751,780 held at the end of December 2017.

Under the ‘going concern’ section of the accounts, the pre-tax loss is noted, together with net liabilities of £178,203,025. The accounts say: “Both the bank loans and loan notes are long term liabilities and do not fall due until 26 July 2020 and 15 March 2023 respectively.”

The document says that the group is able to generate sufficient cash to meet its liabilities.

Estate agency last year generated £102,257,032 for the group, easily the largest source of income.

The group is owned by Bowmark Capital.