Next 15 is pleased to provide an update on FY24 trading, ahead of its AGM being held today.
As announced at the time of our full-year results, performance continues to be robust across the Group. Trading for the five months ended 30 June 2023 was resilient, despite a very tough comparator period. The Group has seen organic growth in Customer Insight, Customer Delivery and Business Transformation with Customer Engagement showing a modest decline, in part due to some client spend delays. Spending across the Group’s technology customer base has remained robust, albeit with spend shifted between certain segments as clients look for data-driven services to help drive sales.
Despite the wider macro uncertainties, we expect our full-year profits and earnings per share to be in line with management expectations and to report another year of solid growth. Revenues are currently expected to be between 5-8% ahead of the prior year. Despite inflationary pressures, full-year operating margins are expected to increase compared with last year, reflecting a significant improvement in trading from the Engine acquisition and tight cost control across the Group.
The Group continues to work with clients across sectors on the emerging theme of how best to use AI to enhance competitive advantage and we anticipate the pace of change to be rapid as the technologies involved are adopted more widely. The Group is using its long-standing relationships with the leading players in Generative AI to build out a range of products and services that embrace the emerging tools and technologies in a responsible way.
The Group’s balance sheet remains strong, and we expect to be cash positive at the year-end. The Group maintains a disciplined approach to capital allocation which enables it to take advantage of strategic opportunities as they arise. In line with this approach, as well as the share price during the period, the Group has opted to settle £10m of its earnout obligations in cash rather than shares, reducing the impact of any share dilution. The Board will continue to prioritise organic investment within the business, as well as M&A and are evaluating strategic options for returning excess cash to shareholders, including a share buyback.