Regulatory News

Final Results

08 April 2021

‘Strong operational and financial progress as B2B focus gains further momentum’

Equals (AIM:EQLS), the technology-led international payments group focused on the SME marketplace, announces its final results for the year ended 31 December 2020 (the ‘period’ or ‘FY-2020’) and an update on the Group’s trading in FY-2021.



These Results are available in PDF format.
To download please click here


FY-2020 Financial Summary

£millions FY-2020 FY-2019 Change
  (restated) Ω  
Underlying transaction values 3,493 2,888 +605
- B2B* 2,843 2,156 +687
- B2C* 650 731 -81
Revenue 29.0 30.9 -1.9
- B2B* 20.3 18.5 +1.8
- B2C* 8.7 12.4 -3.7
Gross profit 18.3 20.6 -2.3
Capitalised internal software (4.4) (8.3) +3.9
Separately reported items (2.6) (3.4) +0.8
Adjusted EBITDA** 1.2 5.6 -4.4
R&D Credits 1.4 3.5 -2.1
Loss after taxation (6.9) (5.4) -1.5


FY-2020 Group Highlights

  • Successful refocus on business customers with B2B transactions up by 32%
  • International Payments: revenue increased by 46%; and its B2B segment revenue increased by 51%
  • Total B2B revenues represented 70% (FY-2019: 56%)
  • Non travel-money revenues increased by 18% to £26.6 million (FY-2019: £22.9 million)
  • Over 18,000 active unique B2B customers
  • Total underlying expenditure reduced by 18% from £30.6 million to £25.0 million
  • Cash break-even achieved in Q4-2020
  • Further bolt-on acquisition of Effective FX in October 2020
  • Adjusted EBITDA of £1.2 million, ahead of market expectations and achieved against Covid-19 and Wirecard headwinds
  • The 50% reduction in staff costs capitalised combined with Covid-19/Wirecard headwinds and single-year R&D tax relief led to loss after tax widening from £5.4 million to £6.9 million


Q1-2021 Group Highlights

  • Launch of Equals Money ‘an account you can bank on’
  • Revenue in Q1-2021 totalled £8.0 million, an annual run-rate equivalent of £120k per employee.
  • Current free cash position £9.0 million – equivalent to 5 pence per share
  • Costs remain under tight control and headcount stable at 250
  • Q1-2021 performance exceeded management expectations


Commenting on the Final Results, Ian Strafford-Taylor, CEO of Equals Group plc, said:

“Despite a number of external headwinds, the operational and financial progress made this year as we focused our business towards B2B is something I am incredibly proud of, and highlights the quality of the Equals Group.

“As the UK payments sector becomes increasingly crowded with specialist operators, our unique proposition spanning banking services, international payments and card-based solutions is proving to be a major differentiator for our customers, driving loyalty and new customer acquisition. This, coupled with the benefits of our accelerated planned restructuring and right-sizing of operations, places us in a really strong position as we move past the challenges of 2020 and continue to focus on driving further B2B-led growth.”


Analyst meeting

A conference call for analysts hosted by Ian Strafford-Taylor (CEO) and Richard Cooper (CFO) will be held at 09.30am today, 8 April 2021.  A copy of the Final Results presentation is available at the Group’s website:

For retail investors, an audio webcast of the conference call with analysts will be available after 12pm today:



*Transactions with business customers are reported as ‘B2B’ and transactions with retail customers reported as ‘B2C’

**Adjusted EBITDA is defined as: earnings before depreciation, amortisation, impairment charges, share option charges, and separately reported items.  Separately reported items are large, non-recurring items

Ω2019 restatement – R&D credits now shown within taxation, as opposed to an offset within operating expenses.



For more information, please contact:

Equals Group plc  
Ian Strafford-Taylor, CEO
Richard Cooper, CFO
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7778 9308
Canaccord Genuity (Nominated Advisor / Broker) 
Emma Gabriel / Bobbie Hilliam / Georgina McCooke
Alex Aylen (Sales)
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7523 8150
Buchanan (Financial Communications)  
Henry Harrison-Topham / Steph Watson / Toto Berger
[email protected]
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7466 5000

Notes to Editors:

Equals Group is a technology-led international payments group augmented by highly personalised service for the payment needs of SME’s whether these be FX, card payments or via Faster Payments. Founded in 2007, the Group listed on AIM in 2014 and currently employs around 250 staff across sites in London and Chester.  For more information, please visit


Chief Executive Officer’s Report

Our original objectives for 2020
The main objective of the Group for 2020 was to continue to grow rapidly with an increasing focus on its B2B customers and products.  This growth would be achieved by harnessing the power of the payments infrastructure and connectivity put in place in 2019, and to be further augmented during 2020, to drive increased volumes through international payments, the Equals Spend card platform and the banking services platform.

The World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 a global pandemic on 11 March 2020.  The immediate impacts of this were a contraction in B2B trading in line with reduced economic activity and a virtual closure of the Group’s B2C travel money products.  Due to the first lockdown being imposed, the Group immediately implemented its business continuity plan and seamlessly moved staff to work from home.  The success of moving a complex payments business with strict security protocols and regulatory and compliance regulation to a remote working status proved the value of the investments in digital-services infrastructure made by the Group in 2019.  Concurrently, the Board accelerated a planned restructuring and re-sizing of Equals, which yielded a significantly reduced cost base and headcount, whilst positioning the business ideally for further B2B-led growth by relentless focus on the Group’s product roadmap, marketing strategies and cross-selling. The Group availed itself of the government’s furlough scheme and drew-down £2.0 million under the CBILs initiative.

As reported in the Group’s interim results and widely reported in the press, the demise of Wirecard AG and its subsidiaries (‘Wirecard’) (the largest prepaid card issuer in the UK), affected Equals as the Group issued cards using Wirecard for all its B2C and some of its B2B programmes.  The net result was that the Group had to accelerate its development of a new multi-currency card platform, supporting both website and app, and to migrate its entire B2C customer base by the end of October 2020.  This work and migration necessitated significant diversion of resources, mainly management and staff time, as well as the write-off of previously incurred costs of inventory and similar.  It was a remarkable achievement by the Group’s staff, and demonstrated the robustness of Equals’ underlying platform, that a full migration of over 150,000 cards was achieved by end of October at which point the Group had, in just four months, moved to a superior platform with a better product and enhanced economics.

Marketplace and competitive landscape
The payments market overall is significant, comprising as it does, all the various payment mechanisms and customer bases.  The Group is somewhat unique in that it spans UK banking services and payments, international payments and card-based payments solutions.  Most competitors specialise in one of these segments but not all.  In addition, the well-funded FinTech ‘unicorns’ are still focused on the B2C space with the over-riding KPIs of customer numbers, whereas Equals is firmly focused on the B2B customer space.

Despite the growth of FinTech, it remains the case that most of the customer payments activity still flows through the incumbent banks and it is winning business from these institutions that is the sales focus for the Group.  To achieve this, Equals has assembled ‘bank-grade’ payments connectivity overlaid with vastly superior user experience than many incumbents.  In addition, the Group’s products are set up so that they do not require B2B customers to change their banking provider, they simply just have to use the Group for the individual services that they require.

Nevertheless, the role of London as a FinTech centre means that staff cost inflation is high and accordingly the Group is in the process of moving roles where possible to its Chester facility and tapping into the great talent pool in the North-West of England.

Within International Payments, the Group has identified the SME segment of the B2B sector as the optimal target audience for its products and services.  The Group’s ‘target customer is an SME between 50-500 employees with domestic UK and overseas payment needs. Engineering, product  and design resources are focused on providing solutions to this customer segment, however, the Group’s products equally serve smaller and larger B2B customers.

Other achievements and product launches

  • B2B Payments agreement with HomeSend (a joint-venture between MasterCard and eServeGlobal), via an API, utilising the Group’s outstanding FX capabilities in conjunction with its directly connected and settling status with the Faster Payments network;
  • Implementation of core payment partnership with Citi, supplementing existing arrangements with Barclays and RBS and providing additional functionality and improved ‘in-country’ settlement capabilities paving the way to straight-through-processing (STP);
  • Refined Equals Go-To-Market strategy under the Equals umbrella to be Equals Money for B2B customers and FairFX for B2C customers;
  • Launch of an all-new customer-facing international payments product: ‘Equals Pay’.  This is a functionality-rich self-service platform that will help customer acquisition whilst increasing capacity and efficiency;
  • Rebuild and rebrand of the B2C FairFX website and app to support a new multi-currency card offering;
  • Acquisition of Effective FX, a predominantly B2B focused international payments business with over 200 corporate clients and strong B2B sales culture;
  • Implementation of:
    • a new CRM system to improve both new customer acquisition and maximisation of revenue opportunities from existing client base;
    • a new customer services platform across the Group improving efficiency and productivity of the customer services team.  The platform is fully integrated with both the new CRM and telephony solutions providing further opportunities for cross-selling and customer retention;
    • a new compliance system to lower onboarding friction particularly for B2B customers
  • Further investment into finance, compliance and regulatory capabilities.  The regulatory burden in the payments industry is constantly increasing and the Group sees its capability as a competitive advantage.


Financial performance

Underlying transaction values

The pivot towards B2B resulted in not only a 21% increase in overall transaction values to £3.5 billion, but also a 24% growth in H2-2020 over H1-2020.  These overall increases however mask a significantly better performance in International Payments (up 52% compared with FY-2019 and up 25% in H2-2020 compared with H1-2020).  Inevitably, the Corporate Spend platform and retail facing products saw decreased volumes with the opportunities for travel severely curtailed by Covid-19.  Details of the transaction values are shown in Table 1 below:

Table 1*

Corporate ExpensesCash & retail cardsBanking servicesTOTAL
Y-on-Y % change60%(20%)(72%)10%32%
Y-on-Y % change23% (70%)(5%)(11%)
Y-on-Y % change52%(20%)(71%)7%21%

*A detailed review of the underlying data has led to some minor re-profiling of H1-2020 and prior year disclosures. Totals may not sum due to rounding. Percentages are calculated on the underlying figures before rounding.

Revenue and revenue margins

Total revenue for the year was just shy of £29.0 million compared to the pre-Covid-19 environment revenue in FY-2019 of £31.0 million.  Very encouragingly, revenue in H2-2020 rose by 10% over H1-2020 to £15.2 million.

Table 2 below splits out the revenue by component and by half-year.  The retail cash and card products have been combined in this analysis to show the impact of Covid-19 across these retail products.

Table 2*

Corporate ExpensesCash & retail cardsRebates and other incomeBanking servicesTOTAL
Y-on-Y % change51%(23%)(71%)(59%)(5%)9%
Y-on-Y % change(28%)-(71%)3662%(3%)(30%)
Business mix %60%11%8%4%18% 
H2-20 v H1-2011%35%(38%)192%4%10%
Business mix %39%13%26%5%17% 
Y-on-Y change %46%(23%)(71%)(36%)(4%)(6%)

*A detailed review of the underlying data has led to some minor re-profiling of H1-2020 and prior year disclosures. Totals may not sum due to rounding. Percentages are calculated on the underlying figures before rounding.

Revenue margins in International Payments were slightly softer at 73bp (FY-2019: 76bp), and in Banking at 31bp (FY-2019: 35bp).

Close to 10% of trades were in forward FX (FY-2019: 18%) at close to 100bp per trade.

Cash break-even

The resizing and restructuring of the business, which began in 2019, was greatly accelerated by the outbreak of Covid-19.  It was the stated aim of the Board to get the Group’s cost run-rate low enough to achieve cash break-even within Q4-2020, even with the effects of the pandemic on revenues.  The Group achieved this whilst continuing to invest in its product suite together with its sale and marketing capabilities, and the Board is proud to achieve this performance against the backdrop of the cash-burning Fintech competitor community.

Board composition
After many years combined service, John Pearson, Robert Head and Ajay Chowdhury stepped down from the Board this year and I thank them for their wise counsel and diligence.  Alan Hughes joined the Board as a Non-Executive Director in March 2020 and became Non-Executive Chairman on the date of the Group’s AGM at the end of June.  Sian Herbert joined the Board as a Non-Executive Director and Head of the Audit and Risk Committees in October 2020.  Under all governance guidelines, both are considered to be independent Non-Executive Directors.

Product update

Unified platform
The clear focus for the Group in 2021 and beyond, is to continue to grow its B2B payments capabilities through the further development of the ‘Equals Money’ proposition whilst ramping up the Group’s sales and marketing in this sector.  Equals Money is the unified platform that incorporates the payments, cards and current account solutions that the Group can offer and ties directly into the strategic vision for the Group to simplify money movement.

The work undertaken in 2019 and 2020 forms a key component of this proposition.  Assembly of bank-grade security and connectivity, including the integration into the Faster Payments network and the implementation of the Citibank partnership to provide ‘local’ settlement in over 40 countries, form the underlying scalable and secure platform for clearing payments efficiently.  This backbone is overlaid by ‘better than banks’ technology to provide customers with the products and platforms they need to make payments, both by account-to-account transfer and by cards, in easily accessible (via enhanced onboarding system) and simple to use applications.  Investments made in 2020 into the Group’s customer services platform, telephony and the new CRM system mean that Equals can not only onboard the customer but also service them to the highest levels with human interaction.

With this impressive capability now assembled, the twin priorities in 2021 are to further refine the platform whilst increasing the Group’s sales and marketing efforts to win more customers and grow revenues.

Own-name IBANs
A key component of further enhancing the platform is the ability to give customers ‘own-name’ multi-currency IBAN numbers.  This functionality enables the Group to give a customer one account into which all their international payment transactions can flow in and out seamlessly and rapidly.  Even more importantly, the account being in the customer’s own name makes dealing with suppliers and customers much simpler and utilising the Group for this aspect of their business does not require them to change their main banking provider.  Own-name IBANs was delivered on the scheduled date in the Group’s development roadmap for 2021.

Linked cards
Other product deployments in the first quarter of 2021 included the delivery of ‘Linked Cards’ on the Group’s FairFX B2C card platform.  This capability allows users to set up additional users on their account that can either share in the balance on the primary card or alternatively only receive funds via a push-transaction from the primary card.  This functionality will enable the FairFX B2C cards to widen their use-case from only travel money applications to also provide pocket-money solutions for children of existing cardholders

Dealer platform
In addition, further enhancements to the Group’s Equals Pay International Payments platform were delivered concurrently with the deployment of a new internal dealer platform, called ‘Exchange’, which integrates directly with the new CRM system.

Major product developments for the rest of 2021 include:

-              further enhancements to the payment processing engine to enable complete straight-through-processing (‘STP’), both inbound and outbound;
-              improvements to the Pay platform, specifically around forward contracts and bulk payments functionality;
-              additional card capabilities for both B2B and B2C including real-time payment authorisations by Equals, virtual cards, Apple Pay and Google Pay;
-              implementation of Group-wide omni-product transaction monitoring and risk systems, utilising machine-learning capabilities; and,
-              the integration of Equals Money products into accountancy software provider offerings.

Sales and marketing
In conjunction with the developments listed above, the Group will be accelerating its sales and marketing efforts, particularly in the B2B space.  A root-and-branch review of the Group’s sales effort was completed in March 2021 and the recommendations from that will be implemented during the remainder of the year.  In keeping with Equals Money being the combination of the Group’s Payments, Cards and Banking products, the new sales force will be selling the combined product suite.  This will involve a combination of re-training, recruitment, and incentive plans to drive cross-selling and the investment in the new CRM system is vital to the success of this effort.

As Equals has seen in recent years, hastened even further by the collapse of Wirecard in June 2020, the compliance and regulatory oversight of payment institutions is increasing significantly.  The Group has always been at the forefront of compliance practice and views this increased focus as a competitive opportunity, as many smaller companies will not be able to meet the standards required.  Accordingly, the Board continues to look for accretive acquisitions where the compliance overhead for the company can be removed and bring their business onto Equals’ superior platform and thereby free them to concentrate on growing their revenues.

Overall, whilst the Covid-19 pandemic is by no means over, especially its ongoing effects on international travel, the Group is seeing consistent turnover increases in International Payments and the Corporate Spend platform.  The Board envisages further growth across the Equals Money product suite as enhanced product capabilities combine with the Group’s sales and marketing initiatives.  In addition, incremental enhancements to the Group’s operational systems and payments connections will yield further capacity for scale and efficiencies.

Current trading and future prospects
From this time last year, the Group has cut its headcount by around 25% and reduced its monthly costs by around £400,000.  Revenue during the continuing Covid-19 lockdown of Q1-2021 was £8.0 million against the pre-Covid Q1-2020 revenue of £8.1 million  On an annualised run-rate basis, revenue per head is now £120k pa (Q1-2020: £90k), a productivity increase of a third. The well-controlled liquidity position has resulted in a free-cash balance of £9.0 million at 31 March 2021.

Capital Markets Day
On 6 May 2021, Equals will host its first ever Capital Markets Day.  This is an opportunity for the Group to showcase its people, current products and capabilities and the sales and development roadmaps.  This will enable investors to gain a deeper understanding of the business and an insight into the future strategic direction of the Group.  Further details are included in a separate announcement.

Finally, a review of FY-2020 and the prospects of the Group would not be complete without a word about our employees.  We have always had an employee base that was dedicated, hardworking and loyal but the pandemic really emphasised the strength of our people.  They have shown both diligence and fortitude through the year, accepting salary sacrifices during lockdown whilst seeing many of their colleagues either on furlough or leaving the Group permanently as we downsized.  We have emerged from the challenges of 2020 with a fantastic, cohesive and motivated group of people who are collectively driving the business forward.  I am tremendously grateful to all of them, individually and collectively, for everything they did in the year and are continuing to deliver in 2021.

Ian Strafford-Taylor
Chief Executive Officer
7 April 2021


Chief Financial Officer’s Report

PART A.               INTRODUCTION

To aid readers of these financial statements, the Group has chosen to present the primary statements in an alternative format and explain the major movements to the prior year along with issues of accounting impact and judgement.

As a result of the strategic pivot from B2C towards B2B, this review starts with a ‘dashboard’ look at the business performance and then takes readers through a granular examination of the income stream and cost dynamics.  This is shown below in Table 3, which is net of Separately Reported Items (see note G).


Table 3

Rebates and similarTotal
Number of active accounts4.4k8.9k4.9k  
 x Transactions per day0.2k1.3k2.1k  
 x Average transaction size£32k£0.6k   
 x Average margin (in bps)7016040  
 = Revenues per day£54k£12k£10k £76k
 x days in period     
 = Revenue£13.6m£3.1m£2.6m£1.0m£20.3m
Add: B2C REVENUE    £8.7m
x   Contribution margin    59.0%
 = CONTRIBUTION    £17.1m
Less: Gross costs (excluding separately identified items)  (£23.6m)  
% booked through income statement  67%  

*A detailed review of the underlying data has led to some minor re-profiling of H1-2020 and prior year disclosures. Totals may not sum due to rounding. Percentages are calculated on the underlying figures before rounding.

The Group reacted quickly to the Covid-19 pandemic, the effect of which had a dramatic impact on revenues.  The Group immediately accelerated its re-sizing programme which involved reducing costs in all areas of the business, without jeopardising its product roll-out programme.

Adjusted EBITDA fell by £4.4 million from £5.6 million to £1.2 million.  The three principal reasons for this reduction were:

  • Reduction in revenue, translating into a reduction in contribution of £1.8 million
  • £3.8 million reduction in the amount of staff costs capitalised, offset by:
  • a reduction in staff and other costs of £1.2 million, resulting in a net increase in costs taken to the P&L of £2.6 million


Table 4 - Income and Expenditure account and its notes

In £000’s     
Less: Variable costs (5,034)(5,636)(10,670)(10,378)
Gross profitB8,7389,55218,29020,567
Ratio 63.4%62.9%63.2%66.5%
Marketing (799)(407)(1,206)(2,037)
Ratio 57.6%60.2%59.0%59.9%
Staff costsC(5,458)(6,103)(11,561)(9,801)
IT & telephoneD(549)(750)(1,299)(878)
Professional feesE(641)(788)(1,429)(959)
Property and office costsF(437)(556)(993)(803)
Travel (157)(76)(233)(451)
Bad debt provisions -(357)(357)-
Other costs (25)(23)(48)(62)
Net other costs (7,267)(8,653)(15,920)(12,954)
*Adjusted EBITDAL6724921,1645,576
Separately reported items:G    
  Covid-19 related costs (445)(1,119)(1,564)-
  Wirecard related costs (non-cash) (530)(540)(1,070)-
  Management exceptional items ---(3,423)
Acquisition costsH-(130)(130)(478)
Share option charges (195)(249)(444)(123)

*Adjusted EBITDA is defined as earnings before: interest, depreciation, amortisation, impairment charges, foreign exchange differences, share option charges, and separately reported items.
A detailed review of the underlying data has led to some minor re-profiling of H1-2020 and prior year disclosures. Totals may not sum due to rounding. Percentages are calculated on the underlying figures before rounding.


Note A: Revenue

Covid-19 had a more significant impact on the revenues from retail-facing products, resulting in total revenue being softer at £29.0 million (FY-2019: £31.0 million).

The most significant changes were:

  • B2B revenues surged to 70% of the total (Fy-2019: 56%)
  • International Payments revenue increased by 46% and within that B2B revenues increased by 51%
  • Revenue from Equals Connect, the Group’s white-label platform grew rapidly with £0.9 million earned in H1-2020 and £1.5 million earned in H2-2020.
  • Revenues from non travel-money products increased by 18% to £26.6 million (FY-2019: £22.9million).
  • Whilst revenue from the Corporate expense platform contracted by 23% from FY-2019, growth resumed in H2-2020 by 35%.
  • Retail cards and travel cash, the B2C exposed travel products inevitably contracted compared to FY-2019 and H2-2020 was lower than H1-2020.
  • FY-2019 revenue benefited from rebates of £1.6 million including some one-offs. FY-2020 rebate revenues were £1.0 million.

Note B: Gross profits and contribution

There is an interaction between direct costs (which includes variable revenue-share arrangements) and marketing expenditure. The Group’s marketing department review the effectiveness of CPA arrangements (shown within direct costs) and marketing costs and move expenditure to the more efficient cost silo.  Marketing costs, net of separately reported items, are shown below:

Table 5: Marketing costs

Gross costs7994071,2064,090
Less: Separately reported items---(2,053)
Net costs7994071,2062,037

Contribution margin was virtually unchanged at 59% (FY-2019: 60%).

Excluding Equals Connect, the Group’s white label platform, the underlying margin on International Payments was 70% in FY-2020 (FY-2019: 68%).

The white-label business (Equals Connect) acquired in November 2019 contributed £0.6 million of contribution in FY-2020 (FY-2019: £0.05 million), with a contribution margin of 26%.


Contribution, and contribution margins are shown below:

Table 6: Contribution

£000’sInternational PaymentsBankingCards and cashFY-2020FY-2019
Variable costs(6,469)(1,356)(2,845)(10,670)(10,378)
Contribution FY-202010,8943,1473,04317,08418,530
Contribution FY-20198,3913,3566,78318,530-


Note C: Staff costs

Staff and Directors took a 20% salary reduction for three months in H1-2020, and 10% for two months in H2-2020.  The total financial value of the sacrifices made by staff was around £1.0 million, and, equated to a 7% cut in staff salaries in the year.  The underlying monthly run-rate of payroll costs reduced from £1.4 million in January 2020 to £1.2 million in December 2020.  It has subsequently fallen further to just above £0.9 million although it is expected to rise marginally above that level in 2021.

Table 7: Staff costs

Gross costs8,3669,15917,52518,497
less Furlough credit(324)(222)(546)-
Less: Capitalised internal software(2,241)(1,761)(4,002)(7,801)
Less: Acquisition costs-(83)(83)(160)
Less: Separately identified items – Covid-19(343)(990)(1,333)-
Less: Separately identified items - other---(735)
Net staff costs5,4586,10311,5619,801

Staff numbers reduced from 331 in January 2020 to 272 in December 2020 and 257 in January 2021.  A redundancy and exit programme was launched early in 2020 and resulted in £1.3 million of associated costs. The Group availed itself of the Government’s furlough scheme with up to 72 employees being placed on furlough during the lockdown.

Part of the reduction in headcount was associated with the completion of a number of projects.  The demise of Wirecard and the subsequent card migration diverted resources away from capital projects.

Note D: IT and telephone

In the last three months of 2019, a number of decisions were taken to invest more in the security network, system resilience, and other IT tools and subscriptions required for the execution of the product roadmap.  The full cost of this, together with increased hosting costs came through in 2020 leading to an increase in costs. These investments allowed the Group’s employees to seamlessly work from home during the pandemic in a secure and compliant environment.

Table 8

Gross costs7599591,7181,180
Less: capitalised(210)(209)(419)(302)
Net IT & telephone5497501,299878

Note E: Professional fees

There are two streams of professional fees which were material, but not treated as separately reported items:
a. Additional regulatory, but routine external audit* costs of a subsidiary, £125k
b. marketing consulting fees, £200k

As reported in the interims, the Group expects compliance costs to remain high for the foreseeable future.

One consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic was that the FY-2019 audit suffered delays as remote working was not entirely conducive to the verification process and there was a significant cost over-run of £160k but this shown as a separately reported item.

*S166 FSMA 2000

Table 9

Gross costs7439491,6921,601
Less: acquisition costs-(48)(48)(318)
Less: Separately identified items(102)(114)(216)(324)
Net professional fees6417881,429959

Note F: Property and office costs

The Group has property commitments in Chester for offices, and in London for both offices and retail outlets.  Two retail outlets have been shuttered and exited.
Table 10

Gross costs9971,0072,1022,310
Less: Separately identified items---(151)
Less: Capitalised internal software(45)-(45)(204)
Less: IFRS16 adjustment(515)(548)(1,063)(1,152)
Net property and office related costs437459993803

Note G: Separately reported items
With the demise of Wirecard AG and its UK operating subsidiary, the Group has made provisions of £652k against card-stock and prepaid issuance costs (normally amortised over three years).

The Group’s action plan to downsize with the onset of Covid-19 resulted in costs of £1.6 million split largely between staffing costs of £1.3 million, and additional professional fees, mainly audit over-run costs. The Group’s recognition of the costs associated with these two events was tracked on an individual-by-individual basis to ensure charges were correctly recorded as either operational or Covid-19 related.



In £000’sH1-2020H2-2020FY-2020 FY-2019
Cash-based costs - Covid     
 Staff costs3439791,322 -
 Professional fees102102204 -
Other costs-3838  
Total, Covid-194451,1191,564 -
Cash-based costs – Wirecard     
 Staff costs-1111 -
 Professional fees-1212 -
 Transaction charges-395395 -
Total, Wirecard-418418 -
Total Cash-based costs4451,5371,982 -
Provisions and write-offs - Wirecard     
 Card stocks written off530122652 -
 Rebranding--- 2,724
 Corporate reorganisation--- 579
 Litigation and similar--- 120
 --- 3,423
Total, separately reported items9751,6592,634 3,423
Split between:     
   Covid-19 costs4451,1191,564 -
   Wirecard5305401,070 -
   Other--- 3,423
 9751,6592,634 3.423

Note H: Acquisition costs
In October 2020, the Group acquired the trade and assets of Effective FX for £125k as an up-front payment and further performance related earn-outs over three years.  Acquisition costs of £130k were incurred and charged to the P&L account.

Note J:  Impairment review
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, no further impairment was judged in any of the Cash Generating Units.

Note K: Depreciation and amortisation
Depreciation for the period was £0.45 million for tangible fixed assets (FY-2019: £0.4 million) and £0.9 million for ‘right-to-use’ assets (FY-2019: £0.9 million).  Amortisation of acquired intangibles was £1.2 million for the year (FY-2019: £0.9 million).  Amortisation of other assets, principally capitalised software was £3.1 million (FY-2019: £1.8 million).

Note L: Reconciliation between Adjusted EBITDA and loss before taxation


Table 12

Adjusted EBITDASeparately reported itemsAcquisition costsShare optionsResult before tax
  Note GNote H  
Direct costs(10,671)---(10,671)
Gross profits18,289---18,289
Contribution17,083-- 17,083
Staff costs(11,561)(1,333)(82)(444)(13,420)
IT and Telephone(1,299)---(1,299)
Professional fees(1,428)(216)(48)-(1,692)
Travel and subsidence(233)---(233)
Other expenditure(405)(1,085)--(1,490)
FX differences    (199)
Depreciation     (1,427)
Contingent consideration    (637)
Amortisation    (4,347)
Interest    (392)
Loss before taxation    (9,046)

Note M: Tax
An accrual has been made for £1,367k of R&D credits.  £2,535k of R&D accruals at 31 December 2019 were received in 2020. With £1,367k of R&D tax accruals for 2020, the ‘net’ cost of the staff costs capitalised drops from £4,002k to £2,635k or 66 pence in the pound.


Table 13

£’000FY-2020 FY-2019
 £ £
R&D tax credits1,371 3,514
Deferred tax credit/(charge)738 (927)
Total tax credit2,109 2,587

The Group has £16.9 million of tax losses available to be offset against future taxable profits.

Note N:               Loss / Earnings per share in pence

Loss per share(3.87)(3.87) (3.20)(3.12)
Adjusted loss per share*(2.33)(2.33) (0.86)(0.84)

*adjusted EPS is before separately reported items and acquisition costs.

PART C                 CASH STATEMENT
The table below aggregates the movements across Bank and Liquidity providers:


Table 14

£000’sFY-2020FY-2020 FY-2019FY-2019 Movement
Adjusted EBITDA (table 4) 1,164  5,576 (4,412)
Less: IFRS 16 Leases impact(1,063)  (1,152)   
Less: acquisition costs(130)  (478)   
Less: separately reported items cash based(1,982)  (3,423)   
  (3,175)  (5,053) 1,878
Less: Internally capitalised software (4,465)  (8,307)   
Less: Purchase of other intangibles(65)  (806)   
Less: Purchase of property, plant, equipment(160)  (1,452)   
  (4,690)  (10,565) 5,875
Cashflows before working capital, acquisitions and external funding (6,701)  (10,042) 3,341
(Less) / add: Working capital movement* (1,485)  402 (1,887)
  (8,186)  (9,640) 1,454
Cash for acquisitions/ earn-outs (825)  (3,325) 2,500
External funding       
   R&D credits received during the year2,539  1,068   
   Cash raised from equity issues -  15,749   
   Cash raised from share options-  130   
   Draw-down of CBILs2,000  -   
  4,539  16,947 (12,408)
NET CASH FLOWS (4,472)  3,982 (8,454)
Balance at 1 January 13,299  9,317 3,982
Balance at 31 December 8,827  13,299 (4,472)
Cash at bank9,658  10,451   
Cash in hand in bureaux22  462   
Regulatory deposits352  352   
  10,032  11,265 (1,233)
Add: Balances with liquidity providers5,695  3,717   
Less: Customer deposit margins and similar**(4,900)  (1,683)   
  795  2,034 (1,239)
Less: CBILs (2,000)  - (2,000)
  8,827  13,299 (4,472)
Shares in issue 178,602,918  178,602,918 -
Amount per share 4.9 pence  7.4 pence (2.5 pence)

*balances which fall outside the FCA safeguarding regime and hence are “on” balance sheet.

**includes movements in balances with liquidity providers and customer deposit margins

PART D                BALANCE SHEET
The Group was able to avail itself of the Government’s Covid-19 support package through the draw-down of £2 million through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (“CBILs”). The loan carries no interest for the first 12 months and can be repaid at any time during this period. This loan provides a working capital buffer against any customer debt failure or to expand – principally by being able to offer more forward FX business at competitive rates.


Table 15

At 31.12.2020 At 31.12.2019


In £000’sOn
Gross Cash resources15,72796,110 14,98252,441  
Less: Customer balances*(4,900)(96,110) (1,683)(52,441)  
Less: CBILs loan (2,000)- --  
Cash per cashflow (table 14) 8,827- 13,299- (4,472)
Other current assets and liabilities       
Card stock and other inventories194- 264-  
Accrued income419- 1,726-  
Trade debtors2,443- 1,450-  
Other debtors168- 360-  
Prepayments860- 1,466-  
Accrued R&D credit1,367- 2,535-  
 5,451- 7,801- (2,350)
Retention and deferred consideration(1,662)- (1,110)-  
Accrued expenses(2,271)- (1,786)-  
Trade creditors(2,510)- (2,495)-  
PAYE and VAT(766)- (624)-  
Other creditors-  (155)-  
 (7,209)- (6,170)- (1,039)
Cash resources, less other current assets and liabilities7,069- 14,930- (7,861)
Fixed Assets (other than “right to use”)36,496- 35,297- 1,199
IFRS16 (Right to use assets less lease liabilities)(346)- (294)- (52)
Derivative financial assets (net)(30)- 372- (402)
Deferred tax, (net)(547)- (788)- 241
Shareholders’ funds42,642- 49,517- (6,875)

*on-balance sheet balances are not required to be safeguarded.

Internally capitalised software
The Group continues its investment in product development and has capitalised a further £4.5 million (FY-2019: 8.3 million) of which £4.0 million (FY-2019: £7.8 million) was staff costs.

Off balance-sheet funds
The rapid expansion of the B2B side of the business has led to an 83% increase in funds either safeguarded or segregated by regulated subsidiaries of the Group.

Other balance sheet items
The Group has accrued £1.25 million for R&D credits (FY-2019: £2.5 million).  During FY-2020, the Group received the £2.5 million of R&D credits accrued in FY-2019.

Non-Controlling Interest
Of the £6.9 million loss for the period, £18k relates to the Non-Controlling Interest of the Equals Connect business acquired in FY-2019.


Richard Cooper
Chief Financial Officer

7 April 2021



  FY-2020 FY-2019 
 Note£ £ 
Gross value of currency transactions sold*13.42,671,244,658 2,117,459,669 
Gross value of banking deposit transactions 821,426,227 769,446,473 
Revenue on currency transactions 23,849,449 25,611,521 
Banking revenue 5,110,180 5,333,203 
Revenue428,959,629 30,944,724 
Direct costs (10,670,263) (10,378,265) 
Gross profit 18,289,366 20,566,459 
Administrative expenses5(22,466,835) (20,123,517) 
Amortisation charge10(4,346,682) (2,830,587) 
Impairment charge10- (4,858,898) 
Acquisition expenses5j(130,433) (478,476) 
Total operating expenses (26,943,950) (28,291,478) 
Operating loss (8,654,584) (7,725,019) 
Finance costs (391,813) (233,564) 
Loss before tax (9,046,397) (7,958,583) 
Tax credit62,109,055 2,586,885 


Loss after tax

 (6,937,342) (5,371,698) 
Attributable to:    


Owners of Equals Group PLC (6,919,650) (5,342,074) 
Non-controlling interest (17,692) (29,624) 
Other comprehensive income:     
Exchange differences arising on translation of foreign operations 6,246 - 
Total comprehensive loss for the year (6,931,096) (5,371,698)  
Loss per share     
Basic7(3.87) (3.20) 
Diluted7(3.87) (3.12) 


*1 Gross value of currency transactions sold and banking deposit transactions are a non-GAAP measure and represent the gross value of currency transactions sold to customers and banking deposits made by customers. See Note 3.4 for more guidance.

All income and expenses arise from continuing operations.



 Group Company
 FY-2020 FY-2019 FY-2020 FY-2019
 £ £ £ £



Non-current assets


Property, plant and equipment

1,645,635 1,972,818 - -

Right of use assets

6,061,346 6,948,876 - -

Intangible assets and goodwill

34,849,927 33,324,137 - -

Deferred tax assets

3,192,585 2,438,859 743,613 238,369


- - 61,706,671  38,892,060
 45,749,493 44,684,690 62,450,284 39,130,429

Current assets



194,091 263,971 - -

Trade and other receivables

10,953,438 11,347,749 274,222 20,138,017

Derivative financial assets

3,019,247 4,560,780 - -

Cash and cash equivalents

10,032,178 11,265,266 - -
 24,198,954 27,437,766 274,222 20,138,017


69,948,447 72,122,456 62,724,506 59,268,446



Equity attributable to equity holders


Share capital

1,786,029 1,786,029 1,786,029 1,786,029

Share premium

53,003,077 53,003,077 53,003,077 53,003,077

Share-based payment reserve

1,401,886 1,345,234 1,401,886 957,757

Other reserves

8,608,867 8,602,621 3,186,538 3,186,538

Retained (deficit)/earnings

(22,258,531) (15,338,881) 1,530,421 (1,624,991)

Equity attributable to owners of Equals Group PLC

42,541,328 49,398,080 60,907,951 57,308,410

Non-controlling interest

101,134 118,826 - -


42,642,462 49,516,906 60,907,951 57,308,410


Non-current liabilities



2,000,000 - - -

Lease liabilities

5,509,382 6,431,578 - -

Deferred tax liabilities

3,739,960 3,226,586 - -
 11,249,342 9,658,164 - -


Current liabilities


Trade and other payables

12,109,220 7,947,364  1,816,555 1,960,036

Lease liabilities

897,266  811,628 - -

Derivative financial liabilities

3,050,157 4,188,394 - -
 16,056,643 12,947,386 1,816,555 1,960,036


69,948,447  72,122,456 62,724,506 59,268,446



Called up share capital Share premium Share- based payment Accumulated losses Other reserves (note 17) Total attributable to owners of Equals Group PLC Non-controlling interest Total
 £ £ £ £ £ £ £ £


Attributable to the owners of Equals Group PLC     

At 1 January 2019

1,553,682 35,858,770 1,748,105 (9,832,880) 8,938,693 38,266,370 - 38,266,370

Acquisition of subsidiary with non-controlling interest

- - - - - - 148,450 148,450

Loss for the year and total comprehensive expense

- - - (5,342,074) - (5,342,074) (29,624) (5,371,698)

Share-based payment charge (note 22)

- - 122,609 - - 122,609 - 122,609

Movement in deferred tax on share-based payment reserve

- - (525,480) - - (525,480) - (525,480)
Shares issued in year232,347 17,144,307 - (163,927) (336,072) 16,876,655 - 16,876,655

At 31 December 2019

1,786,029 53,003,077 1,345,234 (15,338,881) 8,602,621 49,398,080 118,826 49,516,906



Loss for the year and total comprehensive income

- - - (6,919,650) - (6,919,650) (17,692) (6,937,342)

Other comprehensive income:


Items that will not be reclassified subsequently to profit or loss:


Exchange differences arising on translation of foreign operations

- - - - 6,246 6,246 - 6,246

Other items:


Share-based payment charge (note 22)

- - 444,129 - - 444,129 - 444,129
Movement in deferred tax on share-based payment reserve- - (387,477) - - (387,477) - (387,477)
At 31 December 20201,786,029 53,003,077 1,401,886 (22,258,531) 8,608,867 42,541,328 101,134 42,642,462





Called up share capital Share premium Share- based payment Retained earnings / accumulated losses Other reserves (note 17) Total attributable to owners of Equals Group PLC Non-controlling interest Total equity
 £ £ £ £ £ £ £ £

At 1 January 2019

1,553,682 35,858,770 835,148 240,954 3,522,610 42,011,164 - 42,011,164



Loss for the year and total comprehensive expense

- - - (1,702,018) - (1,702,018) - (1,702,018)

Shares issued in the year

232,347 17,144,307 - (163,927) (336,072) 16,876,655 - 16,876,655


Share-based payment charge (note 22)

- - 122,609 - - 122,609 - 122,609

At 31 December 2019

1,786,029 53,003,077 957,757 (1,624,991) 3,186,538 57,308,410 - 57,308,410



Profit for the year and total comprehensive income

- - - 3,155,412 - 3,155,412 - 3,155,412

Share-based payment charge (note 22)

- - 444,129 - - 444,129 - 444,129

At 31 December 2020

1,786,029 53,003,077 1,401,886 1,530,421 3,186,538 60,907,951 - 60,907,951



  FY-2020 FY-2019
  £ £

Operating loss for the year

 (8,654,584) (7,725,019)

Cash flows from operating activities


Adjustments for:



 1,427,368 1,347,872


 4,346,682 2,830,587


 - 4,858,898

Share-based payment charge

 444,129 122,609

Decrease / (Increase) in trade and other receivables

 (401,045) (1,859,253)

Decrease / (Increase) in derivative financial assets

 1,541,533 (3,378,888)

(Decrease) / Increase in trade and other payables

 3,051,193 2,943,227

(Decrease) / Increase in derivative financial liabilities

 (1,510,626) 3,609,438

Decrease in inventories

 69,880 22,742

Net cash inflow

 314,530 2,772,213

Tax receipts

 2,538,873 -

Net cash inflow from operating activities

 2,853,403 2,772,213

Cash flows from investing activities


Acquisition of property, plant and equipment

 (159,834) (1,460,870)

Acquisition of intangibles

 (4,530,470) (11,679,597)

Acquisition of subsidiary, net of cash acquired

 (255,433) (2,226,153)

Net cash used in investing activities

 (4,945,737) (15,366,620)

Cash flows from financing activities


New borrowings

 2,000,000 -

Principal elements of lease payments

 (891,167) (643,786)

Interest paid on finance lease

 (222,193) (233,564)

Interest paid

 (27,394) -

Proceeds from issuance of ordinary shares

 - 17,748,353

Costs directly attributable to share issuance

 - (871,698)

Net cash inflow from financing activities

 859,246 15,999,305

Net (decrease)/increase in cash and cash equivalents

 (1,233,088) 3,404,898

Cash and cash equivalents at the beginning of the year

 11,265,266 7,860,368

Cash and cash equivalents at end of the year

 10,032,178 11,265,266