Small Cap Awards 2024: Transaction of the Year Nominees

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Small Cap Awards 2024: Transaction of the Year Nominees

Inaugurated in 2013, the Small Cap Awards is an annual event celebrating and rewarding the finest in the sub-£350m market cap quoted company sector.

The Awards celebrates those professionals and companies that work within the AIM and Aquis communities and is attended by listed companies, institutions, fund managers, brokers and advisors.

The 2024 Awards will take place on Thursday 13th June 2024 at One Moorgate Place in London.

The nominees for Transaction of the Year are:

Journeo plc

Journeo plc is a leading Intelligent Transport Systems provider, delivering solutions in towns, cities, airports and the public transport networks that connect them. The Company is focused on creating innovative public transport and related infrastructure solutions, contributing to safer and smarter city initiatives as transport of all types becomes more intelligent and connected.

The Company works at many levels with government organisations, local/combined authorities and many of the largest multinational transport operators. Journeo is helping these customers, to leverage the Internet of Things (IoT) and open data standards to improve the sustainability and longevity of the technology they use and support them as new and legacy systems converge.

We have attractive growth opportunities where there is a focus on increasing the number and quality of journeys using public transport, particularly in, around and connecting cities, in response to the need to reduce congestion and deliver the carbon-neutral, low-emissions agenda.

2023 was a transformational and successful year for Journeo. We generated strong organic growth within our Fleet Systems and Passenger Systems businesses, as well as non-organic growth through the acquisitions of Infotec in January and MultiQ in September. As a result, the Group’s capabilities within its established markets, and its ability to enter new markets and territories has grown significantly.

We strive to compete by listening to our customers, applying attention to detail in our systems design, engineering and support over an extended lifecycle and through continuous innovation. In the last four years, we have invested over £6m in Research and Development, releasing powerful new and scalable solutions to the market for public travel and freight applications.

This approach is driving our organic growth and we are discovering valuable insights from the large amounts of data generated by connected vehicles and assets, which is helping us improve safety and performance, optimise maintenance in both new and legacy applications, and attract new customers.

Our ability to rise to the challenges of increasing complexity and converging solutions on the cloud provides Journeo with an increasingly differentiated position. Throughout the year, connections to the Journeo Portal continued to increase from Fleet Operator adoption of our solutions. This year we expect a further growth in our connection numbers as the capabilities of the Portal continue to extend to include Passenger Information Displays from the Passenger Transport Infrastructure systems market segment.

Eagle Eye

Eagle Eye is a leading SaaS company that creates digital connections enabling personalised, real-time marketing through coupons, loyalty, apps, subscriptions and gift services. It’s cloud-based platform, Eagle Eye AIR, provides the most flexible and scalable loyalty and promotions capability in the world. It serves some of the world’s best-known retailers, including Asda, Tesco, Morrisons, Waitrose and John Lewis & Partners, JD Sports and Pret a Manger in the UK, Loblaws, Southeastern Grocers and Giant Eagle, in North America, and the Woolworths Group in Australia.

The Company was founded in 2003, with its origins traced back to a simple yet ingenious idea by founder, Steve Rothwell. His challenge of how to buy a round of drinks in the pub while being stuck at home led to the inception of the digital beer coupon concept. Over the years, Eagle Eye has grown significantly, driven by its Golden Rule to treat people as they would like to be treated, whether customers or employees. As Eagle Eye believes that in order to be the best company to work with, you have to be the best company to work for. Today, more than 750 million personalised offers are executed via the platform every week, and it currently hosts over 200 million individual loyalty members for businesses globally.

In January 2023, Eagle Eye acquired a French business, Untie Nots, creating a larger international group. Eagle Eye now benefits from Untie Nots’ technology AI and deep machine learning capabilities. In January 2024, Eagle Eye launched EagleAI, ‘Personalised Promotions’, a next-generation data science solution for hyper-personalisation, already being used by leading retailers worldwide including Carrefour, Auchan and Pattison Food Group. Untie Nots’ AI-powered Challenges solution has since rebranded as ‘EagleAI – Personalised Promotions’, bringing both AI-powered solutions under the EagleAI brand.

Establishing meaningful digital connections with consumers has never been more crucial. Retailers worldwide are evaluating the optimal ways to offer highly targeted, personalised promotions and loyalty programmes to their customer base, in response to changing consumer shopping behaviour, the inflationary crisis and the advances in cloud-native technologies, data science and AI. Eagle Eye remains at the forefront of this digital transformation, helping retailers and grocers increase sales from customers and retain their loyalty. The loyalty market is currently estimated to be worth $10.2 billion worldwide and is projected to reach $22.8 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR between 2023 and 2028 of 17.5%.

Franchise Brands

Franchise Brands is an AIM listed, international, multi-brand franchisor focused on building market-leading businesses primarily via a franchise model. The Group has a combined network of over 625 franchisees across seven franchise brands in ten countries covering the UK, North America and Europe.

In the last few years, the company has focused its attention on further earnings-enhancing acquisitions of B2B franchise systems of van-based businesses that provide essential services.

Last year it doubled the size of the Group with the acquisition of Pirtek, for a consideration of £200 million and £12.2 million for cash, debt and working capital adjustments, having doubled in size in 2022 following the merger with Filta. Pirtek Europe is an established European provider of on-site hydraulic hose replacement and associated services, and the acquisition was funded by a £114m equity fundraise (including a £92m placing; £17.6m consideration shares; £4.8m subscription shares) and a £110m debt package.

Along with Pirtek, the Group owns several market-leading brands with long trading histories, including Filta, Metro Rod and Metro Plumb, which benefit from the Group’s central support services, particularly technology, marketing and finance. The Group also owns B2C brands including ChipsAway, Ovenclean and Barking Mad.

Its business-building strategy has five engines of growth:

  • Expanding and developing its services: Widening and deepening its range of services to increase system sales, and drive customer acquisition and retention. It has a low market share in all key growth businesses, providing considerable opportunity for expansion.
  • Developing a technology platform: Its digital platform helps enhance customer service and increase sales, thereby facilitating strong operational gearing.
  • Developing synergies through its shared central services: Leverage the investment in technology and other central services such as marketing and finance to optimise the effectiveness of the business, across functions and geographies.
  • Optimising its service delivery: Its strategy is to grow franchise channels. It uses Direct Labour Organisations to develop its franchise businesses more rapidly and provide specialist services.
  • Developing its businesses: It has the ability to launch existing brands into new markets, following its significant geographical expansion, and to benefit from cross-selling opportunities across brands.

The company has a strong track record of building market leading brands, including through digital transformation, using technology to enhance customer service, retention, sales, and drive operational gearing.

The company is run by a highly experienced team, who have worked together for many years in the franchise sector, headed up by Stephen Hemsley who took Domino’s Pizza from private ownership to a market capitalisation of almost £1.5bn as FD, CEO and Chairman. Having co-founded Franchise Brands in 2008, he has led the development of the business, including through its IPO and a number of significant acquisitions.

The Group is currently rolling out the Maximum Potential model, which is a methodology based on the “best of the best” metrics being achieved by the franchises currently in each territory, in terms of their market penetration and revenue per site. This system creates a long-term territory development plan for increasing penetration and spend per customer. Based on this model the Group set out medium term targets at its CMD in 2024 for a 19% CAGR in Adjusted EBITDA for 2023-2027.

In its trading update for the year ended 31 December 2023, it stated that its divisions serving business customers (Pirtek, Metro Rod, Willow Pumps, Filta UK and Filta International) are trading at record levels, demonstrating resilient underlying demand for their primarily essential reactive services. It also stated that the Board expects the Group’s adjusted EBITDA for the year to be within the range of current market expectations of £29.2m to £30.1m, representing a more than three-fold increase from its adjusted EBITDA of £8.5m in 2021.

Yü Solutions

We are a business-focused energy and regulated solutions supplier, making a big impact in a £50bn+ market that offers immense scope for growth.

Yü Customers

  • Micro Businesses
  • Small and Medium-sized Businesses
  • Multi-Site, Complex industrial and
  • Commercial Companies
  • Third Party Intermediaries (“TPIs”)
  • Partners

Yü Channels

In 2022 we diversified our channels, building our relationships with TPIs and White Label Sellers, and bringing onboard an external contact centre to capitalise on marketing engagement.

  • Online
  • Inbound
  • Outbound
  • TPIs & Brokers
  • White labels

Gas, Electricity and Water Supply

We are a licensed supplier of gas, electricity and water, offering great value, customer service and easy access.

  • Up to three years fixed prices
  • Fast, flexible quotes
  • Multi-fuel savings

Meter Installations

We provide meter installation and exchange services and are focused on upgrading our customers to Smart meters.

  • Smart meters
  • Removals and relocations
  • New connections

Sustainable Solutions

We offer a range of sustainable solutions to help protect the planet and support our customers to net zero.

  • Energy data insights and analytics
  • Green electricity and carbon neutral gas
  • Electric vehicle (“EV”) charge point installation and supply

Yütility simplicity:

The only supplier offering businesses simple, comprehensive and cost-effective multi-utility plans for gas, electricity and water.

Proven strategy for growth:

Clear financial framework delivering very strong, profitable growth in every financial KPI, with excellent earnings visibility, while the successful launch of Yü Smart provides further opportunities for growth.

Significant opportunity:

The leading challenger brand continuing to take market share in a £50bn+ addressable market with significant barriers to entry.

Strong foundations and well hedged:

A strong balance sheet and excellent cash generation providing opportunities to invest for growth while our strong hedge book provides certainty, with 100% of energy needs hedged.

Constantly innovating:

Our Digital by Default strategy is revolutionising how businesses buy their energy, continually improving customer experience, and significantly reducing our cost to serve.

Expert and vested management team:

We have an ambitious, highly experienced leadership team who are committed to delivering for all our stakeholders.

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