AIM-listed Franchise Brands to purchase up to £210,000 more of its own shares following stellar 2021

January 4, 2022

AIM-listed Franchise Brands has declared its intention to continue buying back shares over the coming six months following a strong year of trading.

 
The Macclesfield-based company said it would purchase up to £210,000 more of its ordinary shares at 0.5p each through its Employee Benefit Trust after already acquiring nearly 250,000 in the last half of this year.

It comes a month after the firm bought franchise management software system developer Azura Group and posted record earnings for the first nine months of 2021 in its third-quarter results.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Home Improvement Franchises in the UK

This was largely on the back of record system sales by franchisees at its commercial drainage business Metro Rod, which surged by 32 per cent on the same time last year.

Thanks to this impressive performance, bosses at the group said they were confident of hitting market expectations this year, forecasting turnover of £100million and adjusted underlying earnings of £15million by the end of 2023.

Related: Home Improvement Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

For the first six months of 2021, the business also registered an 18 per cent rise in revenues and a 200 per cent increase in pre-tax profits of £2.6million.

Franchise Brands, which has over 400 franchisees across its network of companies, has performed very strongly during the coronavirus pandemic, although it admitted to a weakening of trade at the beginning of the global health crisis.

Alongside Metro Rod, it has six other leading brands as part of its portfolio that are divided between business-to-business and business-to-consumer divisions.

Related: Metro Rod Franchise

Its B2B arm has Metro Rod, national plumbing franchise Metro Plumb and pump supply, installation and maintenance business Willow Pump, while its B2C arm includes Ovenclean, mobile car paintwork repair specialist ChipsAway and dog home boarding services Barking Mad.

Shares in the business were up 2.7 per cent to 151.5p during the late morning on Friday, meaning their value has increased by about half in 2021.

By HARRY WISE

Source: This is Money

Franchise Brands posts record sales at Metro Rod

July 5, 2021

Franchise Brands PLC (LON:FRAN) said its drainage solutions division Metro Rod has posted record sales for the six months to 30 June.

 
System sales at the B2B division increased by 21% compared with 2020 and 17% compared with 2019 to £23.8mln, with June in particular surging £4.3mln, up 41% from last year and 26% from 2019.

The wider group has benefited from the easing of lockdown restrictions across the UK.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Home Improvement Franchises in the UK

Willow Pumps, which was acquired in October 2019, has greater exposure to hospitality and was more impacted by lockdown, but invoiced sales were up 9% compared with 2020.

The franchise business said Willow Pumps continues to facilitate the growth of pump-related work within Metro Rod, where pumps system sales have jumped 159% to £700,000.

Related: Home Improvement Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

The B2C division has also performed strongly, and 40 new franchisees have been recruited taking the number of B2C franchisees to 393, the AIM-listed company said.

It added that it should deliver a full-year performance at least in line with market expectations.

Related: Metro Rod Franchise

“I have been pleased by the speed at which the demand for our services has grown as the lockdown restrictions have been lifted,” said executive chairman Stephen Hemsley.

“Throughout the pandemic I have been particularly encouraged by the resilience of our franchisees. Their entrepreneurial spirit and continued commitment to serve our customers gives me huge confidence in the future of Franchise Brands.”

By Giulia Bottaro

Source: Proactive Investors

Franchise Brands raises £14mln as plumbing businesses see continuing demand

May 24, 2020

Franchise Brand PLC (LON:FRAN) said its drain specialist businesses – Metro Rod, Metro Plumb and Willow Pumps – have seen ‘continuing demand” for a majority of their services, having been designated as essential under the UK government’s pandemic rules, and the group also revealed it has raised £14mln via a share placing.

 
In a trading update released after the close on Monday, the franchise business said it expected the B2B division, which includes Metro Rod, Metro Plumb and Willow, to continue to trade profitably during the coronavirus lockdown, adding that in the first quarter of the year, underlying earnings (EBITDA) for the division were 42% higher year-on-year, while growth in Metro Rod system sales accelerated to 19% from 14%.

Meanwhile, the company’s B2C division, which includes its brands ChipsAway, Ovenclean and Barking Mad, was 5% ahead of the prior year in the first quarter, although the company said it had “significantly reduced or eliminate” franchise fees as the pandemic impacted customer demand for the franchisee’s products from early March.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Home Improvement Franchises in the UK

Franchise Brands added that it has taken a number of actions to preserve cash and strengthen liquidity, including staff furloughs and salary cuts for its board and senior management.

Looking ahead, the company said its first-quarter EBITDA was up 27% on the prior year, and that this added to its cost-saving measures meant it should be able to generate a positive but reduced adjusted EBITDA through the period, with a “strong recovery” anticipated in the key B2B division as business premises were re-occupied.

The B2C arm is expected to mount a slower recovery, with the firm estimating a full quarter for activity levels and income to be fully restored.

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Share placing

Franchise Brands also said it carried out a placing at 90p a share that raised £14mln with directors and senior management putting up £2.07mln. Executive chairman Stephen Hemsley subscribed for £1.35mln worth of shares to take his stake to 23.2%.

As well as strengthening the balance sheet, Franchise Brands said the placing will help position it to take advantage of “earnings-enhancing external growth opportunities”, saying it had “considerable interest” in acquisitions to expand the range of services offered by Metro Rod, Metro Plumb and Willow Pumps.

Related: Metro Rod Franchise

“The group had strong momentum ahead of the [coronavirus] crisis, with Q1 trading showing significant growth on the prior year and a continuation of the accelerating rate of sales growth in its B2B division in particular.

“We have taken all the necessary actions to enable us to trade through this current uncertain period profitably, albeit at a significantly lower level”, Hemsley said in a statement.

The company’s shares rose 4% to 96p on Tuesday.

By Calum Muirhead

Source: Proactive Investors

Franchise Brands rises as plumbing businesses see continuing demand

April 21, 2020

Franchise Brand PLC’s (LON:FRAN) drain specialist businesses, Metro Rod, Metro Plumb and Willow Pumps, have seen ‘continuing demand” for a majority of their services, which have been designated as essential under the UK government’s pandemic rules.

 
In a trading update released after the close on Monday, the franchise business said it expected the B2B division, which includes Metro Rod, Metro Plumb and Willow, to continue to trade profitably during the coronavirus lockdown, adding that in the first quarter of the year, underlying earnings (EBITDA) for the division were 42% higher year-on-year, while growth in Metro Rod system sales accelerated to 19% from 14%.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Home Improvement Franchises in the UK

Meanwhile, the company’s B2C division, which includes its brands ChipsAway, Ovenclean and Barking Mad, was 5% ahead of the prior year in the first quarter, although the company said it had “significantly reduced or eliminate” franchise fees as the pandemic impacted customer demand for the franchisee’s products from early March.

Franchise Brands added that it has taken a number of actions to preserve cash and strengthen liquidity, including staff furloughs and salary cuts for its board and senior management.

Looking ahead, the company said its first-quarter EBITDA was up 27% on the prior year, and that this added to its cost-saving measures meant it should be able to generate a positive but reduced adjusted EBITDA through the period, with a “strong recovery” anticipated in the key B2B division as business premises were re-occupied.

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The B2C arm is expected to mount a slower recovery, with the firm estimating a full quarter for activity levels and income to be fully restored.

Share placing

Franchise Brands also unveiled plans for a share placing to issue up to 19.9% of its current issued share capital, with certain directors and senior management to participate to raise a minimum of £2mln.

The placing will be conducted through an accelerated bookbuild by Dowgate Capital and Allenby Capital and began immediately following the announcement on Monday.

The company said the placing will provide additional working capital funding, improve its liquidity and eliminate its overall net debt as part of efforts to ensure it has “a strong balance sheet and is well placed for the recovery once the [coronavirus] crisis subsides”.

Related: Metro Rod Franchise

Franchise Brands added that the placing will help position it to take advantage of “earnings-enhancing external growth opportunities”, saying it had “considerable interest” in acquisitions to expand the range of services offered by Metro Rod, Metro Plumb and Willow Pumps.

“The group had strong momentum ahead of the [coronavirus] crisis, with Q1 trading showing significant growth on the prior year and a continuation of the accelerating rate of sales growth in its B2B division in particular. We have taken all the necessary actions to enable us to trade through this current uncertain period profitably, albeit at a significantly lower level”, Franchise Brands’ executive chairman Stephen Hemsley said in a statement.

“We see considerable opportunity across our businesses and this Placing will ensure that we are very well-positioned to capitalise on external growth opportunities as we emerge from the [coronavirus] crisis”, he added.

The company’s shares rose 1.1% to 93p in early trading on Tuesday.

By Calum Muirhead

Source: Proactive Investors

Drainage expert to create new jobs with relocation

January 6, 2020

Drainage services specialist Metro Rod is set to relocate, in a move that is to create 10 jobs.

Banks Long & Co has sold “design-and-build” headquarters to the growing company, which is moving its team to the Riverside Enterprise Park in Saxilby.

 
Banks Long & Co acted on behalf of its clients, joint developers Stirlin and Castle Square Securities, in the sale of the hybrid building, which features an equal mix of warehousing and office space.

Metro Rod is a drainage contractor dealing with all types of drainage-related cleaning, repairs and associated services for a wide variety of commercial and domestic customers.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Home Improvement Franchises in the UK

Maindrain Lincs Director Spencer Horsfield – who trades the Metro Rod franchise covering all of Lincolnshire, North Cambridgeshire and the cities of Hull and Beverley – discussed relocating all staff who currently work out of the company’s premises in Nettleton, near Caistor: “We employ 26 people and it is great that they are all moving with us when we switch to Saxilby in February, when I am also looking to take on 10 more people.

“We currently operate a fleet of 26 vehicles. Our workload includes contracts with a wide range of clients, including local authorities, the majority of Facilities Management Companies and the major of construction firms within our territory.

“Our new premises enjoy an excellent location, giving us easy access to the A57, A1 and further afield, which will make it easier for us to service our network of clients.”

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Stirlin Development Manager Matt Padley said: “We have been working with Spencer and the team at Metro Rod on this exciting project for the past year, from design through to construction.

“We are delighted to see the building complete – it means a great deal to us that we’re able to help facilitate Metro Rod’s exciting business growth and expansion plan.

“It has been a pleasure to work with them on this project and support them throughout the process. We are also extremely pleased that their striking building has recently been selected for nomination by West Lindsey Building Control for the LABC Building Excellence Awards.”

Castle Square Securities Director George Lockwood said: “The sale of this quality hybrid unit to Metro Rod demonstrates the strength and attractiveness of this expanding business park, located off the A57 West of Lincoln.

Related: Metro Rod Franchise

“We are delighted to have assisted Metro Rod with its expansion and relocation.”

Banks Long & Co Associate Lewis Cove added: “Metro Rod’s new bespoke headquarters provide the company with 4,865 sq ft of working space. We wish Spencer and his team much success for the future.

“I am delighted to reveal that we have planning permission to develop three more design-and-build properties on the Enterprise Park, which would be suitable for warehouse, industrial and office use.

“We are confident these opportunities will appeal to companies seeking new premises which could be ready for them to move into within six months of agreeing terms.”

By Tess Egginton

Source: East Midlands Business Link

‘Strategic acquisition’ by Franchise Brands

December 17, 2019

The multi-brand franchisor, Franchise Brands, has announced the acquisition of Willow Pumps, a water pump supply, installation and servicing business to complement and expand its plumbing brand, Metro Rod.

 
A family-owned business, Willow Pumps was founded in 1992 by Ian Lawrence to offer pump installation both below and above-ground. It offers routine servicing to its clients to reduce pump failures or blockages and has built a client base of customers in the hospitality, retail and housebuilding sectors.

Metro Rod sees the acquisition as a strategic opportunity for the company and its franchisees who will be given the opportunity to upskill, identify and self-deliver pump work utilising Willow Pumps’ expertise. This additional pump work is also expected to enhance franchisee’s profitability said the company.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Home Improvement Franchises in the UK

Lawrence will continue as managing director of Willow Pumps, which currently employs 74 people, including 35 engineers, the majority of which operate from its main business premises at Aylesford, Kent. Lawrence will also join the senior management team at Franchise Brands.

Stephen Hemsley, executive chairman of Franchise Brands, commented: “The acquisition of Willow Pumps, a highly respected business and one of the leaders in the market, which Metro Rod has already worked alongside, provides the optimum way for Metro Rod to enter the specialist pump sector and develop this expertise across our franchise community.

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“The long-term aim of the Group is to be able to serve our valued commercial customers with a “water in, waste out” range of plumbing-related services on a national basis. I am really looking forward to working with Ian Lawrence and his high-quality management team to create a national leader for drainage, pump and plumbing services.”

Lawrence said: “I am very excited about building on our success to date as part of a larger, publicly-quoted group with significant ambitions in the drainage, pumps and plumbing markets. The Group’s management and wider resources will be of particular value as we continue to grow Willow Pumps under Franchise Brands’ ownership.”

Related: Metro Rod Franchise

Metro Rod has a national network of more than 400 engineers working from 43 franchised depots. It offers a range of services from CCTV surveys and drain clearance to fat and grease management. The company also supports commercial clients with reactive and planned preventative maintenance services.

Source: Franchise World

Franchises expand into Ireland for first time

December 12, 2019

Metro Rod and Barking Mad – both of which are part of the Franchise Brands group – have entered Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland for the first time.

 
The former is a commercial drainage specialist which has opened a franchise in Dundonald, allowing it to directly provide its drain clearance and maintenance services across Northern Ireland.

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It now has 43 depots across the UK.

Dog sitting services provider Barking Mad has launched its first international franchise in the Galway and Limerick area as part of its ambitious expansion plans.

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Stephen Hemsley, executive chairman of Macclesfield-based Franchise Brands, said: “We are delighted to be expanding our presence in Ireland with new franchisees for Metro Rod and Barking Mad, which we believe bring differentiated services to Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, respectively.

Related: Metro Rod Franchise

“This further move into Ireland demonstrates the continued momentum at Franchise Brands as we continue to invest in the infrastructure to support the development, growth and profitability of our franchisees.

Related: Barking Mad Franchise

“I am certain that our new franchisees have a bright future and I look forward to seeing them grow successful businesses.”

Source: Insider Media

Metro Rod welcomes the acquisition of Willow Pumps

October 20, 2019

Commercial drainage business, Metro Rod, has welcomed the acquisition of Willow Pumps by its parent company, Franchise Brands plc.

Founded in 1992, Willow Pumps is a leading water pump supply, installation and servicing business with a below-ground (foul water) and above-ground (fresh water) capability.

 
Working with Willow Pumps will enable Metro Rod to develop a complete range of market-leading pump services, further expanding its range of services to its commercial customers. At the same time, Metro Rod will also be able to offer its wide range of drainage services to Willow Pumps customers.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Home Improvement Franchises in the UK

This additional pump work will provide Metro Rod’s franchisees with an additional opportunity to grow their sales, whilst Willow Pumps will benefit from a significantly expanded delivery capability through Metro Rod’s national network of over 400 engineers working out of 43 depots across the UK.

Willow Pumps has a strong management team led by its founder, Ian Lawrence, who will continue as Managing Director, working together with Metro Rod, and will join Franchise Brand’s senior management team.

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Peter Molloy, Managing Director, said: “The acquisition of Willow Pumps is an exciting step forward as we expand the range of services we can offer to our commercial customers. It supports our ambition to provide a “water in, waste out” range of drainage, pumps and plumbing-related services on a national basis.”

Ian Lawrence, Founder and Managing Director of Willow Pumps, commented: “I am very excited about building on our success to date as part of a larger, publicly quoted group with significant ambitions in the drainage, pumps and plumbing markets.

Related: Metro Rod Franchise

“The Group’s management and wider resources will be invaluable as we continue to grow Willow Pumps under Franchise Brands’ ownership. My team and I welcome the opportunity to work with Metro Rod franchisees all across the country and we look forward to working with Metro Rod to deliver first-class pump services and support to their national customers.”

By Sarah OBeirne

Source: FMJ

Franchise Brands acquires Willow Pumps to expand Metro Rod network

October 10, 2019

Franchise Brands PLC (LON:FRAN) has acquired Willow Pumps to expand its existing drain care and repair business, Metro Rod.

Bringing the two brands together, the long-term goal is to provide a “water in, waste out” range of plumbing-related services to commercial customers in the UK.

 
Franchise Brands, an international franchisor providing the same support services to a range of businesses, is acquiring 100% of Willow Pumps for an initial £5mln and a deferred consideration of up to £7.5mln, payable over the next five years based on performance.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Home Improvement Franchises in the UK

Willow Pumps recorded revenue of £12.4mln, underlying earnings (EBITDA) of £1.6mln and a profit before tax of £1.1mln in the year ended 31 December 2018.

The water pump supply, installation and servicing business will complement the services provided by Metro Rod, a drain and care repair business acquired two years ago, at the centre of a five-year strategy.

Related: Home Improvement Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

Metro Rod, where the plan is to boost fee income four-fold by 2023, recorded 15% sales growth in the year-to-date, while last year they were up 6%.

The company will open “shortly” a new depot in Lincoln and began trading at its first Norther Ireland facility last week for Metro Rod.

Related: Metro Rod Franchise

Shares were up 11.58% to 92.05p in the early morning.

By Giulia Bottaro

Source: Proactive Investors

Franchise Brands’ first-half profits pushed higher by Metro Rod

July 24, 2019

Franchise acquired Metro Rod a couple of years ago, and it is now starting to reap the reward of its hefty investment in the business.

A strong showing from its Metro Rod drain care and repair business helped profits at Franchise Brands PLC (LON:FRAN) soar in the first half of the year.

 
Pre-tax profit rose 27% to £1.8mln (H1 18: £1.4mln) in the six months ended 30 June, on revenue of £20.1mln (H1 18: £16.8mln) – a 19% year-on-year increase.

READ: Franchise Brands ready to add to network as Metro Rod beds in
Metro Rod, which Franchise acquired two years ago, was the standout performer, with sales growth accelerating to 15%. Underlying earnings jumped by 44% to £1.73mln (H1 18: £1.20mln).

Car body repairer ChipsAway also saw earnings rise in the period, more than offsetting drops in profitability at OvenClean and dog groomer Barking Mad.

Both OvenClean and Barking Mad recruited fewer new franchisees in the half, while the latter has also been reorganised following the departure of the founder.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Home Improvement Franchises in the UK

Given the surge in group profits, Franchise has upped its interim by 43% to 0.30p per share (H1 18: 0.21p).

Franchise recruitment picking up
“Franchise Brands has delivered a strong performance in the first half of 2019 driven primarily by Metro Rod’s accelerating rate of growth,” said executive chairman Stephen Helmsley.

Related: Home Improvement Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

“We have made significant progress with our strategy at Metro Rod and have begun to realise the benefits of our investment in infrastructure – in particular IT – that is starting to unlock sales growth, efficiencies and improved customer service, enhancing both corporate and franchisee profitability.

He added: “All of our profitable, cash generative B2C brands have seen a substantial improvement in franchise recruitment compared to the challenging second half of last year and ChipsAway is increasingly well positioned for the rapid changes underway in the automotive sector in particular in relation to ADAS and the growth of electric and hybrid vehicles.”

Related: Metro Rod Franchise

Looking ahead, Helmsley said he “remains very positive” on the outlook for the business and expects to deliver “further significant growth” in the current year and beyond.

Source: Proactive Investors