The Small Cap Awards celebrate the best in UK businesses with market capitalisation of below £200 million. The awards will be presented in London on the 30th June with a panel of market experts picking out the winners. Find out more about the awards, the event and the panel at the Small Cap Awards 2022 website. The awards are made possible through the support of our sponsors.
A selection of the nominees for Company of the Year are as follows:
Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Bloomsbury is a leading independent publisher of fiction, non-fiction, children’s, specialist, academic and professional titles, listed on the London Stock Exchange. It is one of the few publishers with a portfolio that includes both general and academic publishing. Bloomsbury’s ambitious growth story has seen the Group become a significant global publisher with offices in the UK, US, Australia and India.
This year was an exceptionally strong year. Bloomsbury achieved its highest ever sales of £230.1m, an increase of 24%, and profit of £26.7m, an increase of 40% on the prior year.
These impressive results are driven by outstanding performances from both our Consumer and non-Consumer divisions, reflecting the strength of our diversified strategy.
The results also demonstrate that two key trends witnessed since the start of the pandemic have persevered: reading has continued to thrive among all generations, and the shift to digital learning is increasing. Bloomsbury is perfectly positioned to take advantage of these market shifts due to our unique strength in combining general and academic publishing.
Revenues in the Consumer division grew by 25% to £148.2m, with a 25% increase in profit before tax and highlighted items to £17.8m. The performance was driven by strong sales of Adult and Children’s sales, across front and backlist titles.
In uncertain times books can offer both a form of escapism as well as a source of authority. As a result, we’ve seen exceptional sales of fantasy titles such as Sarah J Maas’ latest release Crescent City: House of Sky and Breath as well as non-fiction titles such as Humankind by Rutger Bregman.
The strong backlist sales can be in part attributed to the BookTok phenomenon, which has triggered a books revolution, encouraging younger generations to engage with old classics and creating bestsellers from older titles such as Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles.
Our Non-Consumer division, which includes Academic & Professional and special interest publishing, achieved 23% revenue growth and a 68% increase in profit before tax and highlighted items to £9.1 million.
Complementing our organic growth, during the year we completed three significant acquisitions. Within Non-Consumer, ABC-CLIO and Red Globe Press further strengthen Bloomsbury’s digital products and academic publishing. And the acquisition of trade publisher Head of Zeus has enhanced our Consumer division.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Our success is driven by the expertise, passion and commitment of our employees. We value diversity of thought, perspectives and experience in shaping our culture and strategy, driving our long-term success and informing the ways in which we fulfil our social purpose.
Highlights during the year include:
- Increased focused resource with the appointment of our Diversity and Inclusion and Training Administration Manager, with training pilots across the Company and a Leadership and Management Diploma for UK staff.
- Became an official partner of the ‘Lit in Colour’ initiative with The Runnymede Trust and Penguin Random House.
- Winner of two major industry diversity awards, the Inclusivity in Publishing Award at the 2022 London Book Fair International Excellence Awards and Winner of the Diversity Award at the 2022 IPG Awards.
Brickability Group plc
Brickability is a leading construction materials distributor, serving customers across the UK and Europe for over 36 years through its national and local networks. The Group supplies over 550m bricks annually and has 41 locations across the country with over 600 employees. Across its 4 divisions the Group supplies bricks, roofing, timber, cladding, heating, flooring, doors and windows to meet demand from both housebuilders and contractors.
The Group delivered a strong performance across all its divisions during the financial year 2021/2022 with guidance significantly ahead of expectations. 2021/2022 was a transformational year for the Group as it continued to diversify and add significant scale both organically and acquisitively, moving into new segments within the market, increasing its import and distribution capacity, expanding its client base and building upon its existing product portfolio.
In June 2021, the Group announced the acquisition of Taylor Maxwell, following an oversubscribed share placing raising equity finance of £55 million. This acquisition brought together two of the UK’s leading building materials suppliers bringing a specialism in distributing bricks, timber and non-combustible cladding to the construction industry. Furthermore, the transaction was also recognised and awarded ‘AIM Transaction of the Year Award’ at the AIM awards in October 2021.
Throughout the course of 2021/2022 there was continued progress and expansion in the roofing division with the acquisitions of Leadcraft Ltd, Beacon Roofing Ltd and the formation of a roof tile Joint Venture, Schermbecker Building Products GmbH. Each one of these strategic acquisitions and partnerships enabled the Group to further diversify and expand its proposition and meet the evolving demands of the market.
As the Group continues to grow, it recognises its role and responsibility in tackling ESG priorities. The Group has not only made its first acquisition in the renewable energy products with HBS NE Ltd, now rebranded to UPOWA but importantly, at the end of 2021 it also established an ESG Committee and began developing Brickability Group’s 2030 sustainability strategy. This was followed in February 2022 by the launch of the Brickability Foundation Trust. Under the Foundation’s charter, the Group will donate 0.5% of its net profit in each financial year to the Foundation, which will be used to support numerous causes.
This has been another successful year for the Group and the performance achieved is testament to the Group’s adaptability, strength and the diversity of the businesses it operates.
CentralNic Group Plc
CentralNic (AIM: CNIC) is a global internet platform company that derives recurring revenues from the sale of online presence and marketing services. The Company is powering the growth of the global digital economy by providing businesses in almost every country in the world with the ability to obtain a web address to use for email and to build a website, secure their brand online, acquire customers online, and earn revenues on the internet.
CentralNic has delivered strong and accelerating growth throughout 2021 and beyond, resulting in multiple upgrades to analyst forecasts. Revenue for 2021 was $410.5m, an increase of 71% on the previous year, with organic revenue growth at 39%. Profit and cash also showed substantial growth with EBITDA for Full Year 2021 increasing 57% to $46.3m, alongside a cash conversion rate of 116%.
The Company recently released its Q1 trading results that showed further acceleration in organic revenue growth for the trailing twelve months ending 31 March 2022 to 53%. Revenues were $156 million and Adjusted EBITDA $18 million for the three months ending 31 March 2022.
This growth is being driven by CentralNic’s online marketing business, which has quickly overtaken the Company’s traditional domain name sales business as its largest source of revenues. The core reason for CentralNic’s success is that, unlike most online marketing businesses, its technology helps companies acquire customers on the internet without using third party cookies or the personal data of individuals.
Instead of the traditional and invasive method of marketing products or services based on data about individual users, CentralNic captures data from some ten million websites over long periods of time. Artificial Intelligence is then used to interrogate these huge datasets to identify the best websites on which to place adverts in order to obtain the most relevant high-intent customers for an advertiser client. Known as contextual advertising, this is becoming ever more sought after by marketers and advertisers as restrictions grow on the collection and sale of personal data online and individuals become increasingly privacy conscious.
CentralNic’s organic growth has also been achieved without the Company stepping back from its core strategy of making earnings accretive acquisitions of high cash conversion, recurring revenue businesses that have annuity revenue streams and exposure to growth markets. CentralNic made three acquisitions in 2021 and has already made a further three in 2022, all of which have added scale and capabilities. This includes the leading product comparison website business VGL, the Company’s largest acquisition to date, which was funded by an oversubscribed equity placing and tap bond issue.
CentralNic’s continuing positive performance, during what has been a period of significant macro-economic and geo-political upheaval, reflects its success in sourcing, completing and integrating transformative acquisitions into marketplaces that grow faster than the component businesses could. The pipeline of future acquisition targets remains strong and CentralNic is confident in continuing its trajectory towards joining the ranks of the global leaders in the online presence and marketing services industry.
Totally plc is a leading healthcare service provider in the UK and Ireland, working in partnership with the NHS and other providers to deliver a range of healthcare services, including urgent care, elective and outpatient services, and more recently, a fitness and wellbeing offering.
Established to ensure patients can access the most appropriate high-quality healthcare and addressing growing patient waiting lists, Totally delivers a range of services including NHS111, GP Out of Hours, Urgent Treatment Centres, as well as outpatient, insourcing and outsourcing services across the UK and Ireland.
Totally seeks to be a partner of choice for healthcare commissioners and hospitals, helping them manage demand and ensuring every patient can access quality healthcare quickly and effectively. Now offering corporate customers a range of fitness and wellbeing services, Totally also looks to reduce the reliance on the UK’s healthcare system and promote a physically and mentally fit workforce.
The Company pursues an active buy-and-build growth strategy, building upon its skills and expertise in-house to enhance its offering.
2021/22 was an unprecedented year for the Company with the removal of COVID-19 restrictions and several new variants, driving demand across all services to record levels. Against this challenging backdrop, Totally’s experienced management team worked closely with healthcare commissioners to ensure excellence in patient care.
Demonstrating the quality of its service provision to patients, new contracts totalling c. £59 million and contract extensions worth c. £72 million were awarded to the Group during the year.
New contracts included a three-year contract with Kings College NHS Foundation for a new Urgent Treatment Centre at Denmark Hill worth c. £12 million and a five-year contract for the provision of GP out of hours services in Staffordshire and Stoke worth £45 million.
2021/22 also saw Totally successfully complete two acquisitions in line with its buy-and-build strategy. In March 2022, Totally acquired Pioneer Health Care Limited (Pioneer) adding outsourcing capabilities to the Group and enabling it to offer services via Pioneer’s Any Qualified Provider status, strengthening its ability to support waiting list reduction. Following the acquisition, Pioneer and Totally Healthcare, Totally’s Insourcing business, were brought together under the Pioneer brand creating a single, established provider of insourcing and outsourcing services across a wide range of surgical and medical specialities, all free at the point of delivery to NHS patients.
In December 2021, Totally acquired Energy Fitness Professionals Limited (EFP), diversifing the Group’s service offering by providing workplace fitness and wellness to corporate customers, ultimately reducing reliance on healthcare services. EFP has since mobilised two new contracts, including one with the Royal Mail, and the development of new digital services has started, with the aim of combining these with more traditional on-site solutions.
In challenging circumstances, Totally has proven its ability to provide high-quality service to patients. Working in partnership with the NHS and other customers, the Group remains focused on reducing waiting lists and the reliance on healthcare services, improving patient outcomes across the UK and Ireland and tackling the biggest challenges in healthcare today.