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March 30, 2015

Learning Technologies Group ahead of the game

E-learning company Learning Technologies Group (LON:LTG) delivered an operating performance in 2014 that was ahead of management expectations.


Revenue virtually doubled to £14.9mln from £7.6mln in 2013, while underlying earnings (EBITDA) increased by 42% to £2.1mln from £1.5mln the year before.


The group ended the year with £4.4mln of cash and zero debt, giving it plenty of firepower to pursue acquisitions, as it contains on its quest to consolidate the fragmented e-learning sector.


The acquisitions in 2014 of LINE Communications and "games with purpose" company Preloaded have bedded in nicely, with LINE merged with Learning Technologies Epic division to form LEO, the largest e-learning services business in the UK, according to the company.


The company has a record number of new business opportunities in the pipeline and has made an excellent start to 2015, with sales in the first quarter ahead of target.


The US business exceeded expectations in 2014, buoyed by two substantial new contracts, and the company expected further progress this year as LEO establishes itself as a strong brand in the North American market.


The board is recommending a final dividend of 0.07p which, if approved, would make a full-year pay-out of 0.1p.


Broker Shore Capital raised its profit before tax and earnings per share forecasts for the current financial year by 20% to £3.7mln and 0.71p respectively.


“Should LTG convert some of the major opportunities it is currently pitching for, these forecasts could prove highly conservative,” the broker suggested, as it raised its price target from 22p to 28p.


“Following on from the MoD [Ministry of Defence] contract and Open University agreement reported at the pre-close, the group has now secured a significant project for a central government department and an innovative learning games campaign for a global restaurant chain,” the broker noted, as it reiterated its ‘buy’ recommendation.



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