JS Group reports increase in recurring revenues, new Aspire contracts and improved cash generation in 2016/17

JS Group is pleased to announce its results for the 2016/17 financial year to the end of May 2017.

Financial highlights

  • Revenue was in line with last year at £38.2m.
  • Recurring revenues based on long-term and annual contracts increased to 68% of total revenue and in the UK Higher Education market recurring revenues accounted for 75% of revenue reflecting the adoption and continued success of the Aspire platform in the UK Higher Education market.
  • Hammicks also performed well in the UK legal market with a 17% increase in revenue based, in part, on a new contract with the Ministry of Justice.
  • International revenues were down 12.5% on a constant currency basis as a result of Government policy decisions in Botswana.
  • Operating profit increased by 40% to £0.25m
  • Cash from operating activities increased to £1.5m (£0.8m PY)

Operational highlights

UK Higher Education market

A new Aspire contract was agreed with the University of Worcester in September 2016 and new contracts were signed at Birmingham City University and York St John University for the delivery of Aspire schemes in September 2017. In addition, four new institutions launched Aspire pilot schemes in September 2017 and these are anticipated to be rolled out to full contracts for September 2018. Aspire continues to be the leading bursary management solution and learning resource platform in the UK and recurring Aspire revenues based on long-term contracts with our partner universities now account for 75% of our UK HE revenues.

The delivery of Aspire schemes continues to evolve with an increasing percentage of student purchases moving online. In 2016/17, our eCommerce sites account for 34% of total UK HE revenues (up from 27% the year before).

International Higher Education

Revenues were down 12.5% on a constant currency basis as a result of a Government policy decision in Botswana. JS International remains the market leader with good relationships with all the major institutions in Botswana and had adjusted its cost base to reflect the reduced funding environment.

UK Legal

Hammicks performed well in the UK with a 17% increase in revenues. This was due to a strong publishing programme, a number of customer wins and a major new contract with the Ministry of Justice.

Commenting on the results, Peter Gray, Chairman and CEO of JS Group, said:

I am delighted about the continued progress of Aspire. Our HE business is all about engagement solutions that deliver better educational outcomes for students. So I am delighted that there are record numbers of students benefitting from Aspire and we are seeing record levels of engagement on Aspire schemes across the sector. Internationally, we had challenges in Botswana but I was impressed by the response of the management team and their determination to continue to provide the best possible service to students.

Our Hammicks legal business performed well and it is particularly pleasing that we are working with the Ministry of Justice on a number of software and service initiatives as well as being one of their principal information suppliers.

Overall the year was positive and we continued to invest in our Aspire technology as we transition the business more towards being a service provider which is reflected in the growth of our contract revenue.

Note for editors:
Aspire is the mostly widely adopted and used cashless bursary solution in the UK Higher Education sector. Supporting over 100,000 students, Aspire bursaries can be used by students to acquire their learning resources, join SU clubs and societies, for catering, gym membership and a host of other on-campus services.
For all queries please contact Peter Lake – peter.lake@johnsmith.co.uk

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