People Corporation
TSX VENTURE : PEO

People Corporation

December 09, 2013 08:30 ET

People Corporation Announces Record Year-End Financial Results for Fiscal 2013 and Reports Significant Progress on Execution of Strategic Plan

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Dec. 9, 2013) - People Corporation (the "Company") (TSX VENTURE:PEO) today announced record financial results for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2013, and provided an update on the achievements during the fiscal year that contributed to the ongoing successful execution of it strategic plan.

"Fiscal 2013 was another banner year for People Corporation - along with accomplishing many strategic and operational milestones we exceeded our financial goals. We welcomed four new partner firms to the People Corporation group of companies as part of our acquisition-related growth plan. We continued to focus on delivering growth from organic initiatives, reaching both acquisitive and organic growth, which are key components of our overall strategic plan," said Laurie Goldberg, Chairman and CEO of the Company. "In addition, we continued to make significant progress on a variety of operational initiatives to strengthen the business. Finally, we continued to deliver strong financial results, with an increase of revenue over 21% and increase in Adjusted EBITDA over 60%. These results are even more significant if you are to consider the full impact of recent acquisitions, which are not yet fully reflected in our published financial figures," continued Mr. Goldberg.

Highlights of Financial Results for the Fiscal Year ended August 31, 2013

Financial Results from Operations

People Corporation's financial results for the fiscal year-ended August 31, 2013 reflect the strong execution of its strategic and operational plans, which include organic growth initiatives, growth from acquisitions, and an ongoing focus on operational excellence to position the Company for ongoing success. For the 2013 fiscal year, revenues increased 21.1% to $32.9 million, and Adjusted EBITDA grew by 60.3% to $4.3 million. While significant, as noted below, these results are not fully reflective of the impact of recent acquisitions, as the financial results for those entities are included only from the date of closing of the respective acquisitions. As a result, 'run-rate' Revenue and Adjusted EBITDA on an annualized basis would be much higher than the published fiscal 2013 results for the Company.

12 months ended
Aug 31, 2013
12 months ended
Aug 31, 2012


Increase
Revenue $ 32,892,159 $ 27,157,385 21.1%
EBITDA before corporate costs $ 7,839,707 $ 6,140,743 27.7%
EBITDA before corporate costs margin 23.8% 22.6% 1.2%
Adjusted EBITDA $ 4,344,309 $ 2,710,378 60.3%
Adjusted EBITDA margin 13.2% 10.0% 3.2%
Net income $ 260,109 $ 726,153 - 64.2%

Revenue for the 2013 fiscal year was $32.9 million, which represents an increase of $5.7 million, or 21.1%, over fiscal 2012. Approximately one-third, ($2.1 million or 7.7%) of this represents annual organic growth in the business, attributable to the activities discussed below such, as the expansion of the Company's team of benefits consultants and the additions to the Shared Services product/service offering, which has resulted in additional revenue from existing clients as well as the addition of new clients. The balance of the revenue growth, $3.6 million or 13.5% over 2012, was attributable to the acquisitions completed during the fiscal year discussed below. However, the above figure reflects revenues of these entities only from the date of the closing of the respective acquisitions, and therefore has not yet included a full year of the acquisitions' revenue and financial impact. In its financial statements for the year ended August 31, 2013, the Company has disclosed pro-forma revenue of $10.0 million, which represents management's estimates of total annual revenue derived from the acquisitions had they been completed on September 1, 2012.

In executing its strategy to build a national provider of group benefits, group retirement and human resource consulting products and services that offers a differentiated value proposition to its clients, People Corporation has made, and continues to make, significant investments in revenue generating and operational initiatives that are necessary to build the scale associated with best-in-class national servicing capabilities. Furthermore, providing the Company's benefits consultants access to the resources of the Shared Services division is a key component to creating the unique value proposition and competitive edge to attract and retain clients. The Company monitors EBITDA before corporate costs in order to assess the results of operations before consideration of the ongoing corporate investments required to position the Company for future growth. For the fiscal year ended August 31, 2013, EBITDA before corporate costs was $7.8 million, which represents an increase of $1.7 million, or 27.7%, over the prior fiscal year. The Company also strengthened the EBITDA before corporate costs margin from 22.6% in fiscal 2012 to 23.8% in fiscal 2013.

Adjusted EBITDA for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2013 was $4.3 million, representing an increase of 60.3%, or $1.6 million, as compared to the same period in 2012. Adjusted EBITDA margin increased from 10.0% in fiscal 2012 to 13.2% in fiscal 2013. The growth in Adjusted EBITDA and margin improvements are a result of the operating leverage in the business, as the revenue associated with past investments in operations effectively increases operating earnings with limited additional incremental investment or expense of corporate costs. Similar to revenue, Adjusted EBITDA discussed above only reflects the financial results of the companies with which People Corporation completed acquisitions from the closing date of the relevant acquisitions, and therefore published financial results are not indicative of the current earnings potential of the business.

For the fiscal year ended August 31, 2013, the Company reported net income of $260 thousand. Despite the significant growth in revenue and the various measures of operating profitability, this represents a decrease of $466 thousand from fiscal 2012. The decrease in net income is due to incremental finance expense attributable to debt incurred in connection with acquisitions completed during the year and non-recurring costs related to those acquisitions, and also to various non-cash expenses related to the accounting entries for items such as amortization of intangible assets. As with the other income statement items discussed above, net income includes the financial results of companies with which acquisitions were completed only from the date of closing of the associated acquisitions. In its financial statements, the Company has disclosed incremental pro-forma net income of $2.1 million, which represents management's estimates of additional net income as if the acquisitions had been completed on September 1, 2012.

Summary Financial Position

The Company's financial position remains strong, and it is well-positioned to continue to execute on its growth strategy based on contributions from both organic and transaction-based initiatives. In addition, the financial position of the Company will accommodate the ongoing operational investments required to ensure the Company is delivering upon its value proposition to its clients, and achieving operational excellence and enhanced profitability.

The Company had cash balances of $2.4 million as at August 31, 2013. In addition to its cash resources, the Company has a credit facility of $24.5 million with a senior lender, against which $14.6 million was outstanding as of August 31, 2013. The agreement underlying the credit facility contains certain financial covenants, including debt servicing ratios and other standard business operating and performance covenants. As of August 31, 2013, the Company is compliant with all such covenants. Furthermore, the Company anticipates that cash produced by operations will be sufficient to cover the scheduled repayments on the credit facility.

In addition to the credit facility with its senior lender, as of August 31, 2013, the Company has $4.6 million owing to vendors from previous acquisitions, of which $1.8 million is due in the next twelve months. The Company anticipates the cash flows required to service the incremental debt will be generated through incremental earnings from the entities with which the acquisitions were completed.

The complete Financial Statements and Management's Discussion and Analysis for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2013, along with additional information about the Company and all of its public filings are available at www.sedar.com.

Progress on Execution of Strategic Plan

People Corporation's vision is to build the leading provider of innovative group benefits, group retirement and human resource consulting products and services in Canada. The group benefits, group retirement and human resource consulting sectors are large and growing markets, with favourable underlying characteristics, positive trends, and current dynamics creating an opportunity for companies with scale. In pursuit of its vision, People Corporation has developed a strategic plan that includes organic growth initiatives as well as transaction-based growth, where it seeks to become the 'partner-of-choice' with a unique transaction model for local and regional firms.

Organic Growth Initiatives

From an organic growth perspective, during the fiscal year the Company significantly added to its team of consultants delivering best-in-class service to clients across the country, with the addition of benefits consultants. All of these new consultants attended the first annual People Corporation Academy, a best-practices training and development program that brings together new consultants from across the country. In addition to these client-facing professionals, during the fiscal year the Company expanded its management bench strength including the addition of Dave Young as Vice Chair Corporate Initiatives, Debra Jonasson-Young as President of People First HR Services and Yacine Bara as National Director of Underwriting. In addition, the company augments its corporate development resources with the addition of Paul Asmundson as Vice-President of Corporate Development.

Organic growth continues to be a cornerstone of the firm's strategy, and as such, significant activity also occurred in the Shared Services division. This division was created to provide internal resources to the benefit consultants in the various subsidiaries and divisions of People Corporation so that they would have a competitive advantage by way of a unique value proposition to attract and retain new clients. For example, the Company continued to focus on expanding its suite of proprietary products and services through the launch of a new Wellness Solutions division, led by Dana Hurst, designed to provide wellness initiatives to clients to help with absenteeism, presenteeism and increase overall employee morale and productivity.

Strategic Transactions

During the fiscal year, four new partner firms joined People Corporation as part of the transaction-based component to its growth strategy. In total, these acquisitions represented $26.1 million in transaction value, and will add significantly to the Company's revenue, profitability and cash flow on a future basis. As previously noted, the financial results for the entities with which acquisitions were completed are only included from the date of the closing of the acquisitions, and therefore the published financial results of the Company do not reflect the full financial impact of these acquisitions.

"The acquisitions we completed during the fiscal year are indicative of the momentum we have in our transaction-based growth strategy. The owners of these companies recognized the unique value proposition in our transaction model, whereby they are able to continue to run their businesses, but are able to leverage the resources and capabilities of a large, national organization like People Corporation," commented Mr. Goldberg. "We are particularly pleased that these transactions expanded our national client reach with additional locations in Toronto, Kitchener, Waterloo and our first major presence in the Calgary marketplace.

In July 2013, the Company completed a $19.6 million transaction with Hamilton + Partners based in Calgary, thereby adding one of the preeminent group benefits and disability insurance consulting firms in the Alberta market to the People Corporation group of companies. This was a significant milestone in the Company's quest to build the leading national provider of group benefits, group retirement and human resource consulting services, as it represented the Company's first transaction with a firm based in Western Canada, as well as the largest transaction to date. Given that the transaction closed in July 2013, only 1.7 months of financial results from Hamilton + Partners are included in People Corporation's financial results, representing approximately $525 thousand in revenue. For additional context on the size of Hamilton + Partners, as disclosed in the Business Acquisition Report filed by People Corporation on September 23, 2013, the companies that constitute the Hamilton + Partners business generated $5.7 million of revenue for the fiscal year-ended August 31, 2012, their last full fiscal year prior to the transaction with People Corporation.

In December 2012, the Company completed its third transaction valued at approximately $5 million with Bencom Financial Services, based in Kitchener. Bencom is one of the leading benefits and pension firms in Southwestern Ontario, delivering a full-suite of benefits and retirement products and services to over 200 mid-market corporate clients. Concurrent with the transaction, Mr. Dave Young, Senior Partner of Bencom, joined People Corporation as Vice-Chair, Corporate Initiatives. In addition to being Senior Partner at Bencom, Mr. Young was previously a founding member and Chairman and CEO of the Benefits Alliance Group from 1998 to 2012. Bencom's financial results are included in People Corporation's financial results from the date of closing in December 2012, including $1.8 million of revenue for the period consisting of 9 months.

People Corporation began the earlier part of the fiscal year, with two successive acquisitions with group benefits and group retirement firms. In September 2012, JSL Inc. joined the People Corporation group of companies, followed by the Prosure Group of companies in November 2012. Together, these firms added $1.4 million to People Corporation's revenue for fiscal 2013, which includes 12 months of financial results of JSL and 10 months of financial result of Prosure.

Ongoing Momentum

In recognition of its outstanding growth, in June 2013, People Corporation was included in the PROFIT 500, a ranking of Canada's fastest growing companies compiled by PROFIT Magazine, and based on five-year revenue growth. In addition, with its client-focused value proposition delivered by best-in-class consultants, the Company added over 230 new corporate clients in 2013 alone.

"We are very pleased with our progress to date, but also believe we are only just beginning, and that the solid foundation that we have built will allow us to continue the momentum and to aggressively grow our business in the future," concluded Mr. Goldberg.

About People Corporation

People Corporation is a national provider of group benefits, group retirement and human resource services. We have offices across Canada, each led by a team of experts and backed by the resources of a national company that is traded on the TSX-V. Our industry experts provide uniquely valuable insight while customizing our innovative suite of services to the specific needs of our clients. Whatever your sector, whatever your scale, putting our expertise and proven track record to work will make a difference to your people and your bottom line. Further information is available at www.peoplecorporation.com.

Forward-Looking Information

This news release contains "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable securities laws, such as information concerning anticipated future events, results, circumstances, performance or expectations that are not historical facts. Use of words such as "may", "will", "expect", "believe", or other words of similar effect may indicate forward-looking information including the completion of the transaction, the impact of that transaction on our earnings and cash flow, and the anticipated benefits of the transaction. This information is not a guarantee of future performance and is subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, including those described in our publicly filed documents (which are available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com). Those risks and uncertainties include: our ability to maintain profitability and manage growth; strong competition from other consultants and changes in the current legislation could result in significant competition from the banking industry; failure of information systems and technology; dependence on key clients; seasonality of revenues and the resulting possible impairment on working capital; reliance on key professionals; additional financing may be required and may not be available under terms favourable to us; there can be no assurance that any suitable future acquisition will be available to us or that, if available, the terms of the acquisition will be favourable to us; and a change in general economic conditions. Many of these risks and uncertainties can affect our actual results and could cause our actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking information made by us or on our behalf. Given these risks and uncertainties, investors should not place undue reliance on forward looking information as a prediction of actual results. All forward-looking information in this news release is qualified by these cautionary statements. This information is made as of the date of this news release and, except as required by applicable law, we undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additionally, we undertake no obligation to comment on analyses, expectations or statements made by third parties in respect of the Company, its financial or operating results or its securities.

Non-IFRS Financial Measures

EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA are not recognized measures under International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS"). Management believes that in addition to revenue, net income and cash flows, the supplemental measures of EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA are useful as they provide investors with an indication of earnings from operations before debt management and non-recurring and other adjustments. Investors should be cautioned, however, that EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA should not be construed as an alternative to net income determined in accordance with IFRS as an indicator of the Company's performance. The Company's method of calculating these measures may differ from other public issuers and, accordingly, may not be comparable to similar measures used by other issuers. For a detailed explanation of how the Company's non-IFRS measures are calculated, please refer to the Company's MD&A filing for the six months ended February 28, 2013, which can be accessed via the SEDAR Web site (www.sedar.com).

Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this press release.

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