Excellent financial performance: anchored by record organic growth of 19% (FY20: 6%), a 48% increase in revenue to £1,148m (FY20: £777m), and a 50% increase in EBITDA to £335m (FY20: £223m)
Transformational year for strategic acquisitions: A-Plan (UK), completing Align Financial Holdings (US) and signing Aston Lark (post period end), strengthening the Group’s international footprint and transforming the UK broker platform; pro forma for Aston Lark, revenue is £1.4bn and EBITDA is £440m
Attracted and empowered leading entrepreneurial talent: beyond M&A, nearly 1,500 people have joined Howden Group globally, taking total number of employees to 10,5001, building on the unique culture and opportunities for people, partners and clients. The number of employee shareholders has risen to 2,000
Enhanced long-term capital model and position: welcomed Hg Capital through an initial £500m investment alongside long-term investors General Atlantic and CDPQ, with all committing to a further £300m to support the acquisition of Aston Lark. The group also successfully accessed debt markets competitively whilst remaining conservatively leveraged at 4.1X EBITDA. Over £3bn of equity and debt was raised during 2021
Delivering client solutions in response to climate change: launched a new Climate Risk and Resilience division, worked alongside the Danish Red Cross to bring to market the word’s first volcano cat bond and spearheaded new ESG products
Continued investment in data and analytics: further accelerated the digitisation of processes and distribution through the launch of NOVA and success of Rethink – for the benefit of clients, insurers and brokers
David Howden, CEO, Howden Group commented:
“This financial year has been characterised by signing some of the largest and most transformational acquisitions in our history: Align Financial Holdings in the US cemented DUAL’s position as the only MGA group operating across 19 countries with a diverse product spread and over $2bn GWP.
“28 years after we were founded in the UK, our patient, long-term approach to wait for the right partners to build out the business in our home market has paid off. Joining with A-Plan and Aston Lark will take us to a leading position in the UK broker market.
“From early days we were committed to Continental Europe, opening our first office in Spain just 5 years after we launched the Group. Today, we have offices in 16 countries and act for 32% of the CAC, 37% of the DAX and 63% of the Eurostoxx, and this year we have deepened our foundations with start-up operations, strategic acquisitions and by attracting significant talent right across the region. We are well positioned to replicate our leading position in the UK across Continental Europe, making us the strongest European broker.
“Last year we also announced the strategic expansion of our reinsurance business into treaty as we look to build the credible challenger in reinsurance broking as we have done in insurance broking.
“Furthermore, our ambitions have always been to build a truly international business and we already operate from 45 countries. This international reach, along with our entrepreneurial model, has enabled us to attract over the last 24 months more than 500 senior individuals, from Sydney to Seville, who want to come and be empowered to build their careers and a business together.
“It is this ability to attract, develop and empower talent that is the real driving force of our results this year, and the bed rock of our long-term organic performance demonstrated by record organic growth of 19%. It shows that our people are delivering expertise, innovation and service in existing and new markets, which is why clients are choosing us.
“Clients are also choosing us because of our commitment to invest in innovation, data and technology. This means better results for clients, insurers and broker partners as the cost of the transaction is reduced and the use of the Group’s data enables better access to capacity.
“Our people continue to develop standout risk solutions to meet the growing needs of our diversifying and global client base and I am particularly proud of how we are helping clients respond to climate change risks. We have done this through world-first products, a dedicated Climate Risk and Resilience division and a new capital markets advisory service.
“Alongside our now 2,000+ employee shareholders, Hg Capital joined General Atlantic and CDPQ as a third minority investor and all three have made long term capital commitments. We have also used our ability to access debt markets at highly competitive prices, whilst maintaining a conservative senior leverage level. In total we have raised £3bn of equity and debt funding this year to invest in our growth ambitions. Together, we are building a business for the future to become the credible alternative of scale for clients and a magnet for industry talent in all of our markets. “At Howden Group, we are industrialists with a highly rated, sustainable business supported by a unique capital model and culture ideally placed to service our clients, people, partners and markets for the long-term. As such, we look forward to 2022 and beyond with great excitement.”