Revenue growth of almost £4m in Norman Broadbent year-end results

Norman Broadbent has revealed its best financial results in over a decade.

Its audited final results for the year ended 31 December 2023 showed a return to profitability for the executive search and interim management firm.

Financial highlights include:

• A 44% increase in group net fee income
– Organic revenue growth of 41% to £12.3m (FY22 £8.7m)
• Search revenue: up 52% to £8.6m (FY22: £5.7m)
– Interim revenue: up 9% to £3.2m (FY22: £2.9m)
– NFI up 44% to £10.5m (FY22: £7.3m)
• Underlying EBITDA* of approximately £0.9m, up more than £0.8m (FY22: £0.1m)
– Return to profitability, with profit before tax of around £300k, up over £600k from the FY22, which was a loss before tax of £300k
– Early redemption and conversion of outstanding £0.4m convertible loan notes

Operations-wise, the company made a “significant investment” in headcount, and the average annual fees per established fee-generating employee were up 32%, the company said. 

Another achievement was “a refreshed culture based on values and performance”, said CEO Kevin Davidson. The team’s “dedication and drive has brought the business back to levels of performance not seen in well over a decade”, he noted.

He said the company was pursuing an “aggressive growth strategy… both organically and potentially through synergistic M&A [merger & acquisition] opportunities”.

Board chairman Peter Searle said: “2023 saw a transformation across the business. The foundations were built in the previous two years with Norman Broadbent returning to profitability. The growth in 2023 is testimony to the hard work put in by the team.

“The culture present throughout the business is one of teamwork, inclusion, quality and delivery. This has been integral in delivering the results that have been achieved. It’s extremely encouraging to see the levels of commitment and ambition across every level of the business.”

Searle went on to say that the company will continue to add both experienced consultants and researchers throughout 2024, as well as continue to “reorganise and strengthen” Norman Broadbent’s support functions and invest in technology to bolster growth.

“The quality of our service has allowed the team to not only weather the challenges but post the best numbers for over 10 years: a net profit of £300k, NFI of £10.5m and net cash generated from operating activities of £1.7m.”

Davidson said: “During 2023, Norman Broadbent placed leaders across the UK, Europe, the US, Australasia and the Middle East covering multiple sectors and disciplines. As this year has proven, our business is well-balanced across both resilient and rapid growth sectors where there is a considerable shortage of leadership talent.

“We continue to reinforce our cultural anchors through quarterly values awards, engagement surveys, performance reviews, charitable fundraising and community development projects among other activities.

“The stability of the team is crucial, especially when growing rapidly, and, as in 2022, we were delighted to have had very few regretted leavers in 2023. We recruited a total of 15 very high calibre and culturally aligned colleagues across fee generation, research and support in 2023 and secured another three who started at the beginning of 2024.”

He went on to say: “This was a clear mission that we set when I joined the company and a necessary journey that we are on in re-positioning Norman Broadbent as the pre-eminent executive search and interim leadership partner across our chosen markets.”

Davidson also said that “corporate development activity will be increased in 2024 to identify and assess the potential for both smaller, strategic acquisitions as well as large-scale transformational opportunities”.

“While difficulties were experienced in FY23 by many businesses across executive search and the broader recruitment industry,” he acknowledged, “we have delivered and intend to capitalise on our positive momentum to grow the team further in preparation for a broader economic recovery.”

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