Liverpool gift vouchers, corporate rewards and savings business Appreciate Group reports smallest half-year loss for five years amid £83m takeover. Tony McDonough reports
Appreciate Group is reporting its smallest half-year loss in five years during a period of the year when it traditionally makes a loss.
Currently subject to an £83m takeover bid, Liverpool-based Appreciate is a gift vouchers, corporate rewards and Christmas savings business. It helps its corporate clients reward staff and customers. Its best-known product is the Love2shop gift card.
Appreciate’s business is highly seasonal, with a big chunk of its annual revenues coming over the half-year covering Christmas. On Tuesday, the stock market-quoted business released its results for the six months to September 30, 2022.
They show revenues of £38.7m, down slightly from the £41m reported for the same period in 2021. Pre-tax losses came in at £1.2m. This was lower than the £2.9m reported last year and the lowest figure for five years.
In its statement, Appreciate says it is “set up strongly” for its key trading period in the run up to Christmas. Since the beginning of the financial year it has added 22 new retail partnerships to the Love2shop brand. It is already accepted by many of the UK’s biggest retailers.
Appreciate Business Services, which is focused on staff and customer rewards schemes, enjoyed a “stable” period. It reports improving retention levels and an increasing number of new clients.
Its Park Christmas Savings brand is recovering in-line with expectations. This is underpinned by the group’s highest level of agent and direct customer retention rates along with lower costs of customer acquisition.
In early November Appreciate announced it had accepted an offer from PayPoint to acquire 95% of its share capital. The deal is expected to complete in early 2023 pending the approval of its shareholders.
Appreciate began life as a Christmas savings and hampers club in a family butcher in Birkenhead in the 1960s. It was started by Peter Johnson and eventually grew to become Park Group.
Mr Johnson became one of Merseyside’s best-known business people. At different points he owned both Everton FC and Tranmere Rovers FC. He sold the business several years ago.
In Tuesday’s results the company said the offer from PayPoint comprised an “attractive premium” for shareholders “providing an opportunity to exit the majority of their shareholdings for cash”.
Guy Parsons, executive chairman of Appreciate, said: “Appreciate Group traded in line with the board’s expectations during the first half and remains on track for the financial year as a whole. This is an excellent performance given the macroeconomic challenges.
“We believe that the group is well positioned for the current economic climate as our offerings are based around value for money and savings.
“We are confident that with the leadership changes and a renewed focus on costs, growth, and simplification, the business will continue to prosper.”