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Unaudited financial report 2018

Parity Group PLC


Parity Group plc (“Parity”, or the “Group”), the UK information technology services group, announces its unaudited interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2018.

Parity operates through two divisions, Parity Consultancy Services (“Consultancy Services”), which provides niche technology and data solutions and Parity Professionals, which specialises in the sourcing of professional staff (“Professionals”).

Financial Headlines:

Encouraging progress with over 30% growth in Consultancy Services revenues

  • Group revenues1 of £43.2m (H1 2017: £42.9m)
  • Consultancy Services revenue up by 30.8% to £5.1m (H1 2017: £3.9m)
  • Professionals revenue2 up by 2.2% to £41.6m (H1 2017: £40.7m) despite a strong Q1 2017 comparative, prior to IR35 implementation .
  • Operating profit1 up 12.0% to £1.03m (H1 2017: £0.92m) § Improved operating margin to 2.4% (H1 2017: 2.1%) with growth in Consultancy Services revenues and robust cost management enabling sustained, measured investment
    • Consultancy Services’ contribution3 up by 12.7% to £0.62m (H1 2017: £0.55m); now represents 35.2% of total segmental contribution3 (H1 2017: 32.5%)
    • Professionals’ contribution3 up by 0.9% to £1.14m (H1 2017: £1.13m)
  • Profit before tax1 increased by 25% to £0.85m (H1 2017: £0.68m)
  • Basic earnings per share 0.74p (H1 2017: 0.62p)
  • Net debt of £1.9m (£1.6m at 31 December 2017, £2.3m at 30 June 2017) due to the working capital
    requirement associated with the growth in contractor volumes in the Professionals division

On a Continuing Operations basis

2 Including inter-segment revenues

3 Before group costs, depreciation and amortisation, and share based payments

Strategic and Operational Headlines:

  • Invested to develop Consultancy Services’ growth through the appointment of a Managing Director with extensive data experience and recruitment of personnel to improve our sales and marketing capability.
  • New frameworks in our target markets, including:
    • Crown Commercial Service G-Cloud 10 framework
    • Northern Ireland Water Agency Temporary Staff and Permanent Recruitment framework
    • Ordnance Survey framework for Recruitment Services (permanent, temporary, contingent and fixed term)
    • NEST (National Employment Savings Trust) Recruitment Services framework
    • Award of the Primark managed service for IT recruitment announced in March 2018
    • Since the period end we have also successfully tendered for the Crown Commercial Service Management Consultancy 2 framework for consultancy and project delivery into the Public Sector
  • Enduring customer relationships which provide a high level of repeat business, including significant contract extensions for Consultancy Services with BAT and ESFA
  • 38 new clients across the business, with the majority (23 of the 38) in the Private Sector
  • Exit from loss-making, non-core activity Inition marked the final major milestone in shifting the Group to a more focussed, aligned and profitable business
  • Inter-segment revenues have more than doubled to £3.50m (H1 2017: £1.73m) demonstrating the synergies from joint account management and the increased use of contractors for Consultancy Services managed projects

John Conoley, Chairman of Parity Group, said:

“It is pleasing to see the sustained progress that the Group is making; delivering growth at a revenue and profit level whilst having also rationalised, rebalanced and invested to support future growth in line with its exciting strategic objectives.”

“Parity’s consulting business is well positioned to continue broadening its client base, as clients increasingly look for a solution which combines a deep understanding of analytics and underlying technologies with the ability to deploy up to date experts in the fast-evolving data capture and management field. As a result, we have targeted further investment in senior experienced operational management, and sales and marketing to drive continued growth.”

“We have also successfully exited the last of the legacy operations from the previous strategy, leaving the business leaner and stronger. The Group is demonstrating the synergies achievable by aligning the consulting and recruitment functions, and further developing its strong client relationships through delivering broader capabilities. We expect that our proposition will benefit further from the increased focus on data analysis and data management enabled by the new expertise which we have now appointed to help drive the next stage of growth.”

“The improving financial results to date and the Group’s pipeline of opportunities underwrite the Board’s confidence in the Group’s longer-term growth prospects. Whilst we are experiencing a short-term client-side delay on one large contract, the rest of the Group is performing in line with Board expectations. Without any further delays, we expect a stronger second half, in line with the Group’s traditional seasonality, and to deliver on current expectations for the year as a whole. Our investment in the Group continues to drive revenue and profit growth, supporting cash flow improvement and generating further shareholder value.”

For further information, contact:

Parity Group PLC

Alan Rommel, CEO 0208 543 5353

Roger Antony, GFD

WH Ireland Limited

Mike Coe / Ed Allsopp +44 (0) 117 945 3470

MHP Communications

Katie Hunt / Kelsey Traynor +44 (0)203 128 8100

About Parity:

Parity Group enables people led, technology driven change

Parity drives business value and digital transformation through consultancy, technology and people solutions. It helps customers transform the way they deliver their services to improve speed, efficiency and effectiveness. Its distinctive, integrated offering combines:

  • the consulting business which has secured large ongoing contracts at higher margins and is now focussed on high growth services in fast-moving fields which are a challenge for clients to keep abreast of; and
  • the recruitment business which provides access to high-calibre and hard-to-find expertise direct to clients and for Parity managed projects.

Parity Consultancy Services

Helping clients to make the best use of technology to inform better decision makingHelping clients to make the best use of technology to inform better decision making

This division is focussed on successful project delivery driven by senior industry-experienced consultants who can take a client’s data and deliver the analysis required to achieve clear business goals. They also work closely with clients to diagnose and clarify specific strategic data requirements to guide development of data strategy. Parity’s consultants, supported by world-leading associates, advise on every aspect of data management and deliver data solutions which generate competitive advantage by closing the gap between information and insight, enabling more effective decision making which enable organisations to transform their performance.

Parity Professionals

Helping clients to recruit the best people to deliver real benefit to your business

Parity Professionals provides niche temporary and permanent recruitment of professional and technical staff both direct to our client base, and where required, to our Consultancy division which delivers technology solutions and manages projects. This ensures end clients have both the capacity and capability to transform organisational performance in high growth and rapidly evolving markets.


By aligning both divisions, Parity provides an attractive combination of trusted consultancy advice with access to the best delivery expertise. When necessary, we supplement our industry and technology specialists with access to the broader contractor market through Parity Professionals. Parity’s approach is both client-centric and highly responsive, fulfilling client needs with our internal expertise and best practice approach supplemented with niche contract expertise. We are able to reduce risk and get results for our clients whilst ensuring flexibility, speed to scale up for new opportunities, and cost-effective delivery.


Further to our trading update announced on 18 July, we remain encouraged by the robust first half performance with a further period of revenue and profit growth in both business divisions. Parity is maintaining sustained organic growth at the top line whilst continuing to invest across the business with faster growth observed in its Consultancy Services division which is in line with our strategic goal of targeting the high growth data solutions markets.

We have successfully undertaken the necessary steps to restructure and rebalance the business, exiting from legacy and non-profitable operations to focus on building upon our core strengths, where we can align our capabilities to deliver more effectively to our clients and thereby be more efficient. The Group has again delivered like-for-like growth in both divisions at both revenue and profit levels, managing organic growth through measured, self-funded investment whilst maintaining strong working capital controls which in turn protects us from potential interest rate increases. We are reassured by the growing evidence of the cross-sell and up-sell opportunity presented by closer alignment of the businesses and the synergies that this demonstrates. Our pension liabilities have reduced and our repayment schedule is both affordable and is built into our outlook. This will enable further organic investment to drive customer led profitable growth.


Group revenues for the period grew by 1% to £43.2m in comparison to H1 2017, reflecting recovery against a strong Q1 2017 before the implementation of IR35 reforms which significantly reduced contractor volumes in our largest market, the Public Sector.

The continued improvement in the business mix supported growth in operating profit from continuing operations for the first half of 12% to £1.03m from £0.92m in the equivalent period last year. Group overheads increased slightly to £0.59m (H1 2017: £0.57m), mainly due to necessary additional compliance and advisor costs in relation to matters such as the new GDPR legislation.

The relatively small cash outflow from operating activities of £0.24m is mainly as a result of the growth in contractor volumes in the Professionals division and the associated working capital requirement. Debtor days at 30 June 2018 increased slightly to 20 days (18 days at 31 December 2017, excluding Inition). The increase reflects the change in business mix with an increase in the proportion of turnover from the Private Sector. As a result, net debt was £1.9m (£2.3m as at 30 June 2017), up from £1.6m as at 31 December 2017.

The defined benefit pension scheme is currently in the process of a revised actuarial valuation as at 5 April 2018 and we expect to provide an update in our 2018 Annual Report and Accounts. The accounting valuation disclosed in this Interim Report has decreased as a result of an increase in the applicable discount rate.

Overall, the continued improvement in the Group’s financial performance vindicates our strategy of rebalancing the business towards the higher margin Consultancy Services, which represented 35% of Group contribution from 12% of external revenues in the period (an increase from 9% of revenues H1 2017).

Discontinued Operations

We sold the Inition business to Digital Communication Group Limited on 20 April 2018. The Inition business was sub-scale and considered non-core due to its lack of synergy with the Group’s strategy. The trading loss of the Inition business for H1 2018 up until the date of disposal is included under ‘Discontinued Operations’ in the Income Statement, together with the loss on disposal.


In line with our previous statements on dividends, we are not declaring a dividend at this time, with funds being retained to continue to support our investment in growth but we look forward to restoring a dividend in the medium term. As the Group has continued to deliver an improving performance, the Board is now taking advice on the steps required to put in place sufficient distributable reserves to enable the payment of a dividend at the appropriate time.

Parity Consultancy Services Division – 35% of Group contribution (H1 2017: 33%)

Parity Consultancy Services develops, implements and supports technology solutions for our clients through three core service offerings:

  • We provide consultancy support to help clients understand and interpret their data
  • We work closely with our clients to determine their data needs to help them develop their strategy, and we deliver the data management and analysis toolsets
  • We work closely with our clients to determine their data needs to help them develop their strategy, and we deliver the data management and · We deliver data projects for our clients using a combination of our expertise, underpinned by the best available skills in the marketanalysis toolsets

Our combination of industry specialism and IT solution expertise provide our clients with the assurance that we understand their needs and can provide the right systems to support them. We are technology agnostic, delivering the most appropriate solution to a client’s specific needs, de-risking Parity from over-reliance on specific technologies and isolating ourselves from the volatility in a rapidly evolving solution market. We have the flexibility to provide strategic advice on their IT and systems architecture requirements and provide the niche expertise to deliver their longer-term IT projects without needing to maintain a large bench of available staff, enabling cost savings which allow competitive pricing.

We have invested to build our expertise and capability in the high growth data market. Matthew Bayfield joined the senior management team of Parity Group plc as the Managing Director of Parity Consulting in May 2018 to drive the development of the sales, marketing and consultancy propositions. He is an acknowledged expert in his field, recognised as one of the 50 most influential people in data by DataIQ. Matthew has been on the Group Board for Ogilvy & Mather as their Head of Data for EMEA, as well as founding and leading a number of data strategy, research and insight businesses, taking three to successful commercial exit.

Parity Consultancy Services made solid progress with further growth in divisional revenues on continuing operations of 30.8% to £5.1m (H1 2017: £3.9m) with an increase in segmental contribution from £0.55m to £0.62m over the same period. Margins reflect the necessary further investment in sales and senior data expertise, coupled with the faster revenue growth being reliant upon contracted delivery staffing which generates lower margins than internal staff. Nevertheless, Parity staff fee days increased by 18.1% compared to H1 2017, whilst associate fee days increased by 40.3%, underwriting the benefit of rapid scaling enabled by aligning with Parity Professionals, helping to deliver timely, demand-driven support to client projects.

Parity Consultancy Services continued its success with 7 new clients in the period (4 public sector and 3 private sector), two of which were generated by cross-selling in to existing Professionals clients. In addition to the new framework award for G-Cloud 10 in the public sector, the business secured a framework with a further Health client for business intelligence and data related project work. Our key relationships with British American Tobacco, the Ministry of Defence and the Department for Education form a strong foundation, driving additional opportunity and extensions to current projects.

Parity Professionals Division – 65% of Group contribution (H1 2017: 67%)

Parity Professionals provides targeted recruitment of temporary and permanent professionals with the skills required to ensure our clients have both the capacity and the technical capability to deliver their projects. Our clients’ success depends on the efficiency and competency of their people and, over the last 45 years, Parity has developed a strong reputation for recruiting the best talent across many industry sectors and locations. Our core strengths are in high growth IT skills relating to Digital, Data and Information Security which also supports the Consultancy Services division, though we have broader capability to support our clients in the provision of interim staff to deliver business change programmes.

Parity Professionals demonstrated a steady recovery from the impact of IR35 which was implemented at the end of Q1 2017, reducing contractor headcount in our largest market, the Public Sector. Divisional revenues improved by 2% from £40.7m to £41.6m (H1 2017 to H1 2018) with a 1% increase in divisional contribution to £1.14m against the same period last year. We have continued to invest in building sales capacity reflected in improving key sales metrics, with an increase of approximately 10% in both requirement volumes and placements, and permanent fees increasing by 16% compared to H1 2017.

The Professionals business opened 33 new client relationships in the first half. The private sector represents over 60% of new clients that were opened in the half; many of these are SMEs in the Digital space. The greater volume is with multiple hires, more typical where we have a strong reputation in the Public Sector which continues to form the backbone of opportunity for the Professionals business. We have successfully won places on a number of new frameworks including Ordnance Survey, NEST (National Employment Savings Trust) and Northern Ireland Water. In addition, Parity Professionals has strengthened the relationship with Scottish Water who have reduced their suppliers from 5 to 2 for their new framework covering the next 5 years. In the private sector, we have been awarded frameworks with a number of housing associations such as the Radian Group, broadened our client base in utilities, and completed the successful migration of contractors from other suppliers as part of the Primark managed service award. These volume opportunities, typically agreed over a 3+ year duration, provide better long-term visibility and aid our internal resource planning.

Parity Professionals continues to work closely with the Consulting Services business, increasing the number of clients where they collaborate to ensure successful supply, increasing inter-segment revenues to £3.5m from £1.7m in H1 2017, and providing internal permanent recruitment services to support both back-office operations and client delivery.

Our Market

Market reports (Report on Jobs published 8 August 2018 by IHS Markit and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation) indicate that IT and Computing was the most in-demand category for permanent recruitment, and demand continues to build for contract positions against a backdrop of reducing supply of skilled workers. This continues to drive demand for both project delivery and staff augmentation services despite some uncertainty surrounding Brexit and potential interest rate rises. This market activity coupled with our framework success has increased the volume of opportunity whilst retaining our enduring customer relationships as a strong foundation from which to sustain growth.

Current Trading and Future Prospects

The Consultancy Services business has recruited new sales and marketing leadership, with early signs of success targeting data consulting and analysis. So far they have been able to demonstrate clear evidence of positive impact for the client, giving confidence in the approach we are taking to build our service proposition in target markets. In addition to these new and exciting service offerings, we continue to drive our project delivery and managed services projects winning a number of smaller opportunities with both established and new clients. Whilst revenue growth in Consultancy Services has been strong, there remains plenty of opportunity for accelerating growth in the consulting and project delivery service lines as we invest to further develop our propositions.

Within Parity Professionals, our improving sales metrics have driven recovery from the drop in contractor volumes experienced in Q1 2017 which resulted from the change in the IR35 legislation. Nevertheless, recovery has taken longer than we would have anticipated with a sustained higher level of contract worker churn. In response to this we have invested in measured headcount growth to deliver permanent recruitment services, and continued to support sales growth targeting higher demand skillsets. We are encouraged by the impact of the new staff to support revenue growth in our traditionally stronger second half.

Post close, we have successfully tendered for the Crown Commercial Service Management Consultancy 2 framework for consultancy and project delivery into the Public Sector. We have also secured additional new project work with the Department for Education for the Education and Skills Funding Agency. The Professionals division has a growing pipeline of larger framework opportunity for IT recruitment and managed services.

We will continue to invest in senior consulting expertise, sales and marketing, and in permanent delivery headcount as repeat revenues build, driving utilisation and enhancing long-term operating profit. We are confident in our ability to sustain organic growth through controlled investment in capacity and capability, evidenced by the progress made to date and the market opportunities that we have identified. We will also consider opportunities to build this business should the right opportunity arise to accelerate growth.

The improving financial results to date and the Group’s pipeline of opportunities underwrite the Board’s confidence in the Group’s longer-term growth prospects. Whilst we are experiencing a short-term client-side delay on one large contract, the rest of the Group is performing in line with Board expectations. Without any further delays, we expect a stronger second half, in line with the Group’s traditional seasonality, and to deliver on current expectations for the year as a whole as our investment in the Group continues to drive revenue and profit growth, supporting cash flow improvement and generating further shareholder value.

Principal Risks and Uncertainties

Pursuant to the requirements of the Disclosure and Transparency Rules the Group provides the following information on its principal risks and uncertainties. The Group considers strategic, operational and financial risks and identifies actions to mitigate those risks. These risk profiles are updated at least annually. The principal risks and uncertainties detailed within the Group’s 2017 Annual Report remain applicable for the final six months of this financial year. The Group’s 2017 Annual Report is available from the Parity website The Board has set up a Brexit Working Group to monitor and respond to any emerging risks as and when the implications of Brexit unfold.

Consolidated condensed income statement

For the six months ended 30 June 2018

   Six monthsSix monthsYear
   to 30.06.18to 30.06.18to 31.12.17
Continuing operations     
Revenue 243,22042,91583,815
Employee benefit costs  (3,098)(3,158)(5,939)
Depreciation and amortisation  (112)(143)(286)
All other operating expenses  (38,984)(38,695)(75,534)
Total operating expenses  (42,194)(41,996)(81,759)
Operating profit  1,0269192,056
Finance costs 3(179)(235)(394)
Profit before tax  8476841,662
Tax (charge)/credit 4(88)(56)534
Profit for the period from continuing operations  7596282,196

Discontinued operations

  NotesSix monthsSix monthsYear
Loss for the period from discontinued operations, net of tax 5(388)(430)(2,182)
Profit for the period attributable to owners of the parent  37119814
Earnings per share – Continuing operations NotesSix monthsSix monthsYear
Basic earnings per share 60.74p0.62p2.15p
Diluted earnings per share 60.71p0.59p2.08p
Earnings per share – Continuing and discontinued operations     
Basic earnings per share 60.36p0.20p0.01p
Diluted earnings per share 60.35p0.18p0.01p

Consolidated condensed statement of comprehensive income

For the six months ended 30 June 2018

   Six monthsSix monthsYear
   to 30.06.18to 30.06.17to 31.12.17
Profit for the period  37119814
Other comprehensive income:     
Items that may be reclassified to profit or loss     
Exchange differences on translation of foreign operations  (33)(39)
Items that will never be reclassified to profit or loss     
Remeasurement of defined benefit pension scheme  124137800
Deferred taxation on remeasurement of defined benefit pension scheme  (21)(136)
Other comprehensive income for the period, net of tax  103104625
Total comprehensive income for the period  474302639

Consolidated condensed statement of changes in equity

For the six months ended 30 June 2018

Six months to 30 June 2018 (Unaudited)

 Share capitalDeferred sharesShare premium reserveCapital redemption reserveOther reservesRetained earningsTotal
At 1 January 20182,04333,21114,31944,160(86,544)7,189
Profit for the period371371
Other comprehensive income for the period, net of tax103103
Issue of new ordinary shares103343
Share options – value of employee services2727
At 30 June 20182,05333,24414,31944,160(86,043)7,733

Six months to 30 June 2017 (Unaudited)

 Share capitalDeferred sharesShare premium reserveCapital redemption reserveOther reservesRetained earningsTotal
At 1 January 20172,03714,31933,19544,160(87,251)6,460
Profit for the period198198
Other comprehensive income for the period, net of tax104104
Issue of new ordinary shares61622
Share options – value of employee services  5252
Cancellation of deferred shares(14,319)14,319
At 30 June 20172,04333,21114,31944,160(86,897)6,836

Year to 31 December 2017 (Audited)

 Share capitalDeferred sharesShare premium reserveCapital redemption reserveOther reservesRetained earningsTotal
At 1 January 20172,03714,31933,19544,160(87,251)6,460
Profit for the period1414
Other comprehensive income for the period, net of tax625625
Issue of new ordinary shares61622
Share options – value of employee services6868
Cancellation of deferred shares(14,319)14,319
At 31 December 20172,04333,21114,31944,160(86,544)7,189

Consolidated condensed statement of financial position

As at 30 June 2018

   As atAs atAs at
Non-current assets     
Goodwill and intangible assets  4,7334,9324,821
Property, plant and equipment  616878
Deferred tax assets  810411919
Total non-current assets  5,6045,4115,818
Current assets     
Trade and other receivables  13,27912,65612,033
Cash and cash equivalents  5,4614,4794,968
Assets classified as held for sale  2,168791
Total current assets  18,74019,30317,792
Total assets  24,34424,71423,610
Current liabilities     
Loans and borrowings  (7,364)(6,805)(6,592)
Trade and other payables  (8,324)(8,943)(8,349)
Liabilities classified as held for sale  (344)(395)
Total current liabilities  (15,688)(16,092)(15,336)
Non-current liabilities     
Loans and borrowings  (2)(18)(8)
Provisions  (19)(17)(18)
Retirement benefit liability 7(902)(1,751)(1,059)
Total non-current liabilities  (923)(1,786)(1,085)
Total liabilities  (16,611)(17,878)(16,421)
Net assets  7,7336,8367,189
Shareholders’ equity     
Called up share capital  2,0532,0432,043
Share premium account  33,24433,21133,211
Capital redemption reserve  14,31941,31914,319
Other reserves  44,16044,16044,160
Retained earnings  (86,043)(86,897)(86,544)
Total shareholders’ equity  7,7336,8367,189
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