Human resource management concept
Staff training firm Mind Gym swung from profits of £3 million to a £12.1 million loss after exceptional costs / Image source: Adobe
  • Annual sales plunge 18%
  • Cost-cutting drives improved H2 performance
  • New CEO sets out recovery and growth strategy

Mind Gym’s (MIND:AIM) shares slumped the best part of 30% to an all-time low of 27.5p after the corporate training specialist reported an 18% plunge in sales for the year to 31 March 2024 driven by constricted customer HR (human resources) budgets and warned the new financial year will be one of ‘recalibration’.

The London-headquartered staff training play lurched from pre-tax profits of £3 million to a £12.1 million statutory pre-tax loss after write-downs and restructuring costs.

However, cost efficiency initiatives drove an encouraging return to second half adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) profitability.

And with a new CEO at the helm, Mind Gym is focusing on a growth strategy to enhance ease of purchase, delivery, and renewal of its solutions.

US SALES DECLINE

Mind Gym pinned the drop in sales and lurch into the red on macroeconomic headwinds which affected confidence in key sectors including technology, especially in the US, as well as the consumer and manufacturing sectors where companies are dependent on global supply chains.

Revenues in the EMEA region remained flat last year, while US sales saw a  significant decline with performance ‘particularly adversely impacted by a material decline in client spend on DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion).’

The company, which uses behavioural science to build training programmes, also bemoaned the increased caution on HR budgets which has affected the buying cycle, ‘with more client stakeholders needed to sign off budgets’.

EASY TO BUY, SELL, RENEW

Alongside the results Christoffer Ellehuus, who succeeded Octavius Black as CEO in April, set out his new strategy for growth and profitability.

‘I believe that we have all the right foundations for future growth: strong client relationships, innovative solutions, and a very talented team,’ said Ellehuus.

‘I am excited about leading Mind Gym forward on a path of profitable, sustainable growth, profitability making Mind Gym solutions easy to buy, easy to deliver, and easy to renew.’

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Despite prevailing macroeconomic headwinds, Mind Gym expects to be profitable at the EBITDA level, generate cash in the year to March 2025 and in the medium term, is confident of delivering a compound annual growth rate in revenue north of 10% with EBITDA margins of between 15% and 20%.

The company also insists the opportunity in a ‘highly fragmented $80 billion human capital advisory market remains ‘as compelling as ever’, although the market appears unconvinced with the shares trading 80% below their June 2018 initial public offering issue price of 146p.

BUT LIBERUM REMAINS BULLISH

Liberum Capital has a ‘buy’ rating on Mind Gym and a 45p price target.

The broker said the key highlight is ‘the new CEO laying out an updated strategy, focused at making Mind Gym’s solutions easier to Buy, Sell and Renew. An evolution of the customer value proposition through integration and productisation, as well as changes to the go-to-market (channel partners, digital marketing, lead generation etc) we see improving earnings visibility and deepening customer relationships.’

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Issue Date: 17 Jun 2024