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Personal Group remains cautiously optimistic

The market for employee benefits also remains strong with continued pressure on businesses to improve productivity and staff retention in a tight labour market, the group said

Healthcare professional
Personal's long-established insurance business provides hospitalisation cash payments, death in service and convalescence cover

Employee benefits provider Personal Group PLC (LON:PGH) said results for the year just ended are expected to be broadly in line with market expectations.

The company cautioned, however, that market conditions are tough and taking into account the uncertainty caused by Brexit, the board reckons profitability in 2019 is unlikely to grow much from 2018.

READ: Personal Group trading in line as CEO Mark Scanlon signals intention to step down

In 2018, the company continued to see good progress across its three business segments – employee insurance, salary sacrifice (childcare vouchers, home technology et al) and employee communications – and overall trading was ahead of 2017.

The core insurance business saw new sales perform well despite the introduction of new data protection (GDPR) legislation, which temporarily delayed the signing up of new clients.

The company was also required to address a data security issue resulting from a third-party supplier that affected client relationships and necessitated an acceleration of a planned rationalisation of the group's supply chain. Personal Group said that although this initiative needed an increased and early investment, it brought forward benefits of reduced supply chain risk and has improved the clients’ perception of the quality of the group’s product.

PG Let’s Connect, the group’s salary sacrifice business, significantly improved its year-on-year performance and is showing clear signs of recovery as expected, although it saw a small number of key clients defer running the Let's Connect offer to their employees until 2019 for their own logistical reasons.

Sage Employee Benefits, a bundle of services offered to small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) through a tie-up with accountancy software group Sage PLC., was launched in November and the early indications have been positive, the group said.

Chief executive (CEO) Mark Scanlon, who has indicated he intends to step down from the role once his successor has been appointed, said the search for a new CEO was progressing well.

“While the current economic and political conditions inevitably bring a greater level of business uncertainty, which we have seen evidenced through a slower decision making on the part of our customers, the board remains cautiously optimistic that we can continue to progress our business in the year ahead,” Scanlon said. 

Quick facts: Personal Group Holdings PLC

Price: 280 GBX

Market: AIM
Market Cap: £87.41 m

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on 21/3/18

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