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Benchmark Hlgs PLC (BMK)


Monday 02 February, 2015

Benchmark Hlgs PLC


RNS Number : 6942D
Benchmark Holdings PLC
02 February 2015



2 February 2015

Benchmark Holdings plc

("Benchmark" or "the Company")

Acquisition of Improve International Limited

Benchmark Holdings Plc announces that it has acquired the entire issued share capital of Improve International Limited ("Improve"), the Swindon-based veterinary continuing professional development ("CPD") provider. Improve will sit within Benchmark's Technical Publishing division, which provides global knowledge transfer, technical insight, e-learning and market analysis for people and businesses working in agriculture, aquaculture and the food supply chain.

Improve organises CPD courses for veterinarians across the UK, Republic of Ireland, Scandinavia and mainland Europe from its bases in the UK and Portugal. The courses are run both privately and in conjunction with universities and other organisations. All of the courses are accredited by either ESVPS (The European School of Veterinary Postgraduate Studies) or Harper Adams University. Currently delivered primarily on a face-to-face basis; Benchmark's directors believe there is considerable scope for online development of the programmes in collaboration with their Technical Publishing division's digital arm.

The consideration for the acquisition comprises an initial payment of £3.2 million in cash and warrants to acquire 259,312 Benchmark ordinary shares at a price of £1.12 per share. The exercise of the warrants is conditional upon the extension of certain business contracts, and the warrants are expected to become exercisable in 2017. If they have not become exercisable and been exercised by 1 December 2017, the warrants will lapse. Additional consideration of up to £3.0 million in cash is payable under an earn-out by reference to achievement in the financial year ending 31 December 2015 of performance targets in excess of anticipated 2014 results. 

Improve is being purchased from its three shareholders who comprise the senior management team; David Babington, Heber Alves and Rui Lobao, all of whom will remain with the business.

Improve generated £3.1 million* of revenue and £0.2 million* of earnings before taxation in the year ended 31 December 2013. Net assets at that date were £0.2 million*. Revenue for the year ended 31 December 2014 is expected to be £3.5 million** which represents revenue growth of 13% on 2013. Earnings before taxation for the year ended 31 December 2014 are expected to be £0.5m**.

This significant growth profile has been achieved through expansion across continental Europe - in particular Germany, Spain and Portugal - as well as new market developments in Mexico, USA and Australia and a significant new UK contract.

Improve is forecast to continue to grow both revenue and profit, and the acquisition is expected to be immediately earnings enhancing.

Malcolm Pye, Chief Executive of Benchmark Holdings Plc said:

"The acquisition of Improve will enable us to combine our digital and distance learning expertise with Improve's veterinary content across Europe, enhancing our ability to serve the professionals in our key veterinary markets. This is a significant step forward for our Technical Publishing division in both the food and companion animal markets. We plan to take Improve's successful face-to-face courses and deliver content digitally on an international basis."

* Unaudited aggregated financial statements
** Management estimate of unaudited results



For further information, please contact:



Benchmark Holdings plc

Tel: 020 7920 3150

Malcolm Pye, CEO


Roland Bonney, COO


Rachel Aninakwah, Communications




Cenkos Securities PLC

Tel: 020 7397 8900

Ivonne Cantu / Liz Bowman, NOMAD


Russell Kerr, Sales




Tavistock Communications

Tel: 020 7920 3150

Matt Ridsdale / Niall Walsh / Keeley Clarke



Notes to Editors:

Founded in 2000, Benchmark represents a new model in sustainable business development. Over the last decade it has built a profitable group of companies on the economics of a sustainable food supply chain. The company is growing in response to a rapidly increasing demand for sustainable food supply chains, and in particular for seafood, from both mature and emerging markets.

Benchmark is an ethical company with an explicit policy based on the "3E's" definition of a sustainable business - ethics, environment and economics - which guides its strategy and operations.

Following the transformative acquisitions of SalmoBreed and Stofnfiskur in December 2014, the Group now has four divisions: Animal Health which researches, manufactures and markets medicines and vaccines particularly for aquaculture; Sustainability Science which researches and informs sustainable development in the food industry, Technical Publishing which effects technology transfer through online publishing and education, and Animal Breeding and Genetics which is the second largest supplier of salmon eggs and genetic expertise in the world. Benchmark operates internationally with offices in the UK, Ireland, Norway, USA, Brazil, China, Russia, Iceland, and Thailand and, as at 20 January 2015, employs 284 people.

For further information on Benchmark please visit



This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange

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