Wilmington Corporate: A Great Reception for Capital Markets Day

 

 

Capital Markets Day

Communicating with external stakeholders plays a vital role in creating and retaining confidence in any company and the Wilmington plc Capital Markets Day (CMD), which took place on 7 July 2015 in central London, was well received by analysts, shareholders and potential investors.

As well as presenting a snapshot of the business, CMD also reinforces the key elements of Wilmington’s strategy and demonstrates progress against its published objectives. It was a very successful day, with presentations from CEO Pedro Ros, CFO Tony Foye and Divisional Directors Andrea Ward, Mark Solon, Richard Adams and Bill Howarth.

Ros reminded guests about the journey Wilmington has taken since the full review of the business, starting in September last year. He revisited the company’s new strategy and its ambitions, and invited the other speakers to complete the picture.

Foye explained the thinking behind the recent acquisition of U.S.-based Financial Research Associates LLC. He was followed by the four Divisional Directors, each of whom talked about prospects for their respective divisions.

Reaction to the day was excellent. Wilmington’s share price responded favourably to the FRA announcement, and the message from guests was equally positive. Readers wishing to download the presentations in pdf format can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Wilmington plc Acquires Financial Research Associates LLC

Wilmington Logo

Acquisition of Financial Research Associates LLC

– Enhances networking capability of Finance and Insight knowledge centres –
– Strengthens Wilmington’s presence in North America –

Wilmington plc, the knowledge leader in Risk & Compliance, Finance, Legal, and Insight, announces the acquisition of the trading assets and assumption of certain liabilities of Financial Research Associates LLC, a leading US conference and networking provider of specialist events in healthcare and finance.

Background to FRA

Financial Research AssociatesFRA was established in 2001 and is managed by Lori Medlen, CEO and Ellen Wofford, COO. The business has a successful portfolio of over 80 specialist events, focussed on finance and healthcare. FRA has 47 employees based in two offices; Charlotte, North Carolina and Santa Cruz, California. It enjoys a high proportion of repeatable revenue with over 75 percent of 2014 revenue coming from recurring annual events. Approximately 60 percent of revenue comes from healthcare events (healthcare forms the majority of Wilmington’s Insight division) and 40 percent from Finance. In line with Wilmington’s ambition to enhance its international presence, FRA’s turnover is generated in the US and its acquisition will increase the proportion of the Group’s revenue generated from international markets.

In the twelve month period ending 31 December 2014, revenue for FRA was $10.5m and underlying revenue increased by 19 percent driven by the success of its two flagship healthcare events; Resource Initiative and Society for Education (“RISE”) held annually in Nashville and California. The RISE events are the premier events for healthcare professionals and executives from all industry segments as well as healthcare providers and have a membership association of over 1,000 members.

Acquisition rationale

The acquisition of FRA is consistent with Wilmington’s strategy of acquiring complimentary businesses with high repeat revenues and strong, cash-generative income streams in the Group’s key markets. FRA’s business provides Wilmington with additional networking expertise and will support the Wilmington Insight and Finance divisions.

FRA will work closely with other Wilmington companies in the US, including Compliance Week (the provider of governance, risk and compliance information), and with UK companies seeking US market access, in particular NHiS (the provider of business intelligence and data analysis to the pharmaceutical industry), which will benefit from FRA’s extensive database contact list of more than 300,000 healthcare contacts. FRA will also work with AMT (the provider of corporate finance and capital markets training to major international investment banks). FRA has 900,000 finance contacts in its database built up over 15 years.

FRA’s established relationships will provide Wilmington’s international businesses with networking opportunities, enabling closer access to a wider pool of North American customers and markets. In turn, Wilmington sees opportunities to “geo-clone” FRA events internationally and is already investigating opportunities in the UK and Europe.

Commenting on the acquisition, Pedro Ros, Chief Executive Officer of Wilmington, said:

“FRA is a quality business with excellent market positions supported by an entrepreneurial and ambitious management team. This earnings enhancing acquisition provides Wilmington with new networking opportunities and capabilities within our Finance and Healthcare areas.

“We are delighted that Lori, Ellen and the rest of the FRA team are joining Wilmington at this exciting time in our evolution. The acquisition will also strengthen our base in North America as we look to further internationalise our business.”

Lori Medlen, CEO of FRA, commented:

“We are thrilled to be joining Wilmington and look forward to providing live event networking opportunities to support the Insight and Finance divisions. We are delighted to be part of a larger organisation which can develop our growth ambitions.”

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Click here to download the full release.

 

A Lively, Successful Event: International Compliance Association 7th Annual Conference Report

ICA Conference Report

It’s no surprise that the International Compliance Association’s Annual Conference is one of the compliance sector’s most eagerly anticipated events. Every year, we see increasing global awareness of the risks arising from non-compliance and inadequate safeguards against fraud; the ICA conference brings together compliance professionals from all walks of life with a common objective – to share best practices in compliance and to learn from the experiences of other delegates.

Held in London during March, the 2015 Annual Conference featured speakers and topics that reflected the event’s title, “Looking Through the Compliance Kaleidoscope.” A strong speaker line-up and a “compelling” programme underscored the ICA’s intention to leave no critical topic unexplored. With Helen Hatton, Managing Director of Sator Regulatory Consulting, in the chair, the combination of a diverse agenda and a panel of hugely experienced speakers gave delegates a glimpse into the changing patterns of the risk landscape and the influences shaping regulatory compliance in 2015.

Bill Howarth, ICA Chief Executive, commented, “The event, now in its seventh year, addressed key topics in regulatory and financial crime compliance. It provided a fantastic opportunity for attendees to be kept up to date on strategies and trends in these areas, as well as acting as a platform for lively debate.”

Meeting the Daily Challenge of Managing Risk

The huge diversity of compliance-related crime, coupled with a constantly evolving suite of internationally applicable regulations, ensures that the challenge of managing risk increases on an almost daily basis. Hatton, in her opening remarks, emphasised the importance of peer-group contact: “Compliance can be a very isolated role in an organisation; a vitally important part of this event is the opportunity to network with other professionals, sharing our experiences and promoting best practice across industry sectors.”

Howarth agrees: “The conference brought together ICA members and delegates from more than 10 overseas jurisdictions, including the United States, the Bahamas, Mauritius, Cyprus, Bahrain, Dubai, Egypt, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. They were able to network with their UK counterparts, sharing best practices and discussing current ‘hot topics’. Lively debate and informative comment ensued.”

In the evening, many delegates also attended the ICA Award Ceremony, where new graduands received diplomas and professional certifications.

In 2015, the focus of the regulatory and financial crime compliance professional covers as wide a spectrum as ever, with no signs of that scope narrowing. “The general consensus,” says Howarth, “was that the conference was lively, invigorating, informational and of real practical value.”

International Compliance Training (ICT), a Wilmington Risk & Compliance company, is the largest and longest-established training provider of ICA professional qualifications.

For more information, contact ICA:

Membership:- membership@int-comp.org
Media/Press:- Lily Harwood (lharwood@int-comp.org)

Wilmington Interim Management Statement to 31 March 2015

Wilmington Logo

Interim Management Statement

Wilmington plc (“Wilmington” or “the business”), the knowledge leader in Risk & Compliance, Finance, Legal, and Insight, announces its Interim Management Statement for the nine month period to 31 March 2015 with comments reflecting trading to date.

Trading Update

As expected, Wilmington’s revenue during the nine month period was up 7% on the same period last year. This continues the trends reported in the interim results for the six months ended 31 December 2014. Wilmington saw good revenue growth across all of its divisions except, as previously indicated, in the Legal division. Legal has witnessed underlying revenue decline due to ongoing structural changes but the rate of decline has continued to slow.

During the nine month period, Wilmington continued to see growth in reported operating profits and margins across all of its business divisions.

Operational Review

Wilmington Risk & Compliance: This division provides in-depth regulatory and compliance accredited training and information, market intelligence, and analysis. It focuses on the international financial services and international insurance markets as well as the UK pensions industry.

Wilmington Risk & Compliance delivered strong revenue and contribution growth during the period, especially within the Compliance business which continues to enjoy significant demand for its accredited face to face training in both public events and bespoke in-house assignments. In addition the Risk business, which primarily services the information needs of insurance and pensions professionals, saw solid growth in its revenue and profits.

Wilmington Finance: This division provides corporate finance and capital markets training as well as training and support services for qualified accountants in the UK in the profession and industry.

Finance recorded good revenue growth during what is traditionally a quiet period. In particular the international bank graduate induction training business has continued to secure major in-house training assignments and has a strengthening pipeline of projects for delivery into the summer which is the busiest part of its year. Given the operational gearing of the business the revenue growth has delivered an increase in both margin and profit.

Wilmington Legal: The Legal division provides a range of training, professional support services and information including Continuing Legal Education (CLE), expert witness training, databases and magazines to legal professionals.

The Legal division reduced the rate of decline in its revenue to five percent in the period, reflecting the further scaling back of some course programmes as we continue to integrate the division’s activities and consolidate overlapping CLE courses. However, this revenue decline was offset by the flexible cost base and the continued strong performance from Bond Solon. Overall margins and profits were ahead compared to the same period in 2014.

Wilmington Insight: The Insight division provides analysis and clarity to customer-focused organisations, enabling them to better understand and connect with their markets.

Revenue in the healthcare business continued to show underlying growth across all main areas but in particular in NHiS which is enjoying increased demand for analyst led insightful information. The data suppression and charities businesses remain largely flat as expected. Overall profits and margins were up slightly on the same period in 2014.

Cash Flow

Net debt as at 31 March 2015 was £31.1m (31 March 2014 £34.6m) reflecting the reorganisation costs previously reported in interim results for the period to 31 December 2014.

Outlook

We continue to see the trends of tighter regulatory control and more complex legislation implemented in most of our key markets which in turn drives demand for many of our products and services. This demand is reflected in good ongoing momentum across most of our business. Overall, the financial performance is in line with the Board’s expectations and Wilmington is on track to deliver against expectations for the full year.

-End-

Click here to download the release

For further information, please contact:

Wilmington plc: 020 7422 6800
Pedro Ros, CEO
Tony Foye, CFO

FTI Consulting: 020 3727 1000
Charles Palmer / Emma Appleton

Notes to Editors

Wilmington plc is the recognised knowledge leader and partner of choice for information, education and networking in Risk & Compliance, Finance and Legal as well as the Insight leader in a number of chosen industries. Capitalised at approximately £200 million, Wilmington floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1995.

New Social-Media Initiative at Wilmington Promotes Employee Engagement

SmarpShare Screenshot

At a time when too many companies still ignore the power of social media, Wilmington is showing its commitment to the benefits of social networking – both to the individual and to the company. In a move that opens the door to increased employee engagement, the company is rolling out SmarpShare, a leading online advocacy platform designed to encourage content sharing on social media.

Leading the implementation team is Jen Guy, Client and Business Development Director, with the support of internal admins, located in different Wilmington companies. Jen explained the thinking behind the initiative:

“In a connected world, social media plays a huge role in helping companies do business. SmarpShare makes it easy for people to raise their personal profile across their social networks, helping them achieve their personal business objectives. That can only benefit everyone involved – the individual employee, the company and our clients.”

A Ready Stream of Fresh, Relevant Content

The admin team uploads selected content to the online hub, pre-approved for sharing by people across Wilmington; there’s a good mix of business-related articles that address many of Wilmington’s key client sectors, together with a variety of professional content. Additionally, individual users suggest content that they believe should be available to a wider audience; this ensures a ready stream of fresh, relevant content for their social connections.

In a demonstration of its support for the project, Wilmington is making a charitable donation to be split between four nominated charities; users “earn” credits for their activities on SmarpShare which they can donate to the charity of their choice.

The project has been a great success; since launch, active users have shared various types of content. These shares reached an audience of more than 2 million connections, attracting nearly 5,000 unique visitors to the content. An additional benefit has been the massively increased level of internal communication arising from the shared information – people are learning more about what goes on in other parts of Wilmington, increasing the opportunity for collaboration.

Confirming his personal involvement in the initiative, Chief Technical Officer Chris Jelley said:

“I believe passionately in the power of social media, and I’m delighted that so many colleagues are taking an active part in this initiative. By raising their profiles across their social networks they make it easier to achieve personal objectives, which is a good outcome both for their businesses and for their clients.”

Wilmington’s New Website Features Refreshed Branding

New Wilmington Website

During the first half of the 2014/15 financial year, Wilmington successfully evolved its business to a knowledge-based model; the company reorganised into four divisions, each representing one of its four core knowledge areas. As Chairman Mark Asplin reported at the half-year, this structure “will maximise Wilmington’s opportunities in helping its clients meet their information, education and networking requirements.”

Supporting the company’s new vision involves more than just structural changes – it has to incorporate every customer-facing aspect of the business. As Chief Executive Pedro Ros says: “We have to keep the customer at the centre of everything we do.”

The result? A name change – the company dropped the “Group” to become simply Wilmington plc – plus refreshed corporate branding that embodies the new divisional structure. The company’s new face draws on a revised colour scheme that portrays each division as one segment of a spectrum of expertise.

Name Change and Refreshed Branding Inspired New Website

Wilmington’s new name and branding has inspired a redesigned website, one that is destined to serve as a unified portal for Wilmington clients, wherever they are located. The presence of a single digital hub, serving clients from each of the company’s divisions, is directly in keeping with the new, unified branding and emphasises Wilmington’s strengths as an integrated business.

Under the umbrella of a new corporate video, the “What We Do” section of the new site emphasises Wilmington’s core capability: turning knowledge into advantage. Each of the four divisions – Risk & Compliance, Finance, Legal and Insight – utilises the common channels of Information, Education and Networking to impart that knowledge.

Showcasing Wilmington’s depth of talent and combined expertise is no easy task. Clients needing the very best in knowledge-based services have the option to review individual company strengths without leaving the main Wilmington site; seamless links to companies’ dedicated websites make following up client interest that little bit easier.

Although it’s early days, there’s little doubt that the new Wilmington website is set to become a resource centre of choice for clients around the globe. Why not pay a visit by clicking here?

Wilmington – The Movie

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“This is the Age of Information …”

Speaking in London during the announcement of Wilmington plc’s 2014/15 half-year results, Chief Executive Pedro Ros confirmed the company’s transition “from a group of companies to a business with a vision.”

Refreshing Wilmington’s corporate branding as part of the company’s restructuring activity brings with it an opportunity to launch a new corporate video that tells the Wilmington story in two minutes.

Wilmington’s Half-Year Results: +8% Organic Growth

Pedro Announcement

The combination of Wilmington’s encouraging performance for the six months ended 31 December 2014, its reinvigorated strategy and its relaunched branding has provided clear evidence that the company is moving firmly in the right direction. Chief Executive Pedro Ros, speaking in London on 25 February, not only presented results that were well-received, but also confirmed the successful completion of Wilmington’s restructuring for growth.

Commenting on the results, Ros said:

“Trading has been in line with the board’s expectations and, as our clients’ businesses are exposed to increasingly complex legislation and ever-tighter regulatory control, we remain confident that global demand for Wilmington’s products and services will grow correspondingly.”

With organic revenue growing by 8% to £46.1 million and adjusted pre-tax profit up 14% to £8.1 million, there are clear signs that Wilmington is already benefiting from a renewed focus on areas with the greatest growth potential. Reaction from the City was almost immediate, with broker Westhouse Securities quick to upgrade its investment rating for the company’s shares.

Quoted on the day by Shares Magazine, Westhouse said:

“We are pleased with the positive trading momentum and margin progress evident in these results and by the increased focus on organic growth and exploiting organisational synergies under WIL’s refreshed strategy. We believe … that the potential for upgrades as the year develops has strengthened.”

Among other favourable reactions, broker Numis Securities was equally positive; according to The Interactive Investor, the broker commented:

“Numbers firmly underpinned in 2015, with risk on the upside as we move through H2. Wilmington shares remain very good value at current levels, we reiterate our Buy and 315p target.”

CFO’s Review Highlights Operational Excellence

Expanding on the overall numbers, CFO Tony Foye’s operational review highlighted an excellent performance by Risk & Compliance companies. The division, which includes Wilmington’s fastest-growing and highest-margin businesses, recorded a 15% increase in first-half revenue at 32% margin (2013: 33%), and is set to deliver more of the same.

When these results are taken together with Wilmington’s growing international footprint – 38% of total revenue is now generated outside the UK – the company’s senior management is understandably bullish about prospects for the remainder of the year and beyond. Ros confirmed that he would pursue a limited number of strategically targeted acquisitions to fill identified gaps in Wilmington’s portfolio. The outlook for the remainder of 2014/15, he confirmed, “remains on track.”

Readers wishing to download either of the presentations can do so here.