Chester ID verification firm GBG looks for M&A deals

Shares of Chester-based ID verification company GB Group (GBG) rose about 6% on Monday after it released a strong AGM trading statement and said it is looking for opportunities in mergers and acquisitions.

GBG shares rose 6% to 772p to give the firm a current stock market value of around £1.5 billion. The company’s stock has risen about 34% in the past year.

GBG employs around 1,000 staff in 16 countries and works with 20,000 customers in over 70 countries.

GBG’s customers include US e-commerce giants, Asia’s biggest banks and European household brands.  

“We are pleased to report we have had a better than expected first quarter trading, recording growth for Q1 year-on-year,” said GBG.

“This growth was mainly underpinned by a strong performance in the US from a specific customer project which is one-off in nature.

“The group’s underlying performance has been consistent with that outlined at the time of the group’s full year results on 30 June 2020.

“The impact of COVID-19 on our customers still varies depending on geography, customer vertical and GBG solution.

“Encouragingly, certain figures in Q1 are still at pre-COVID-19 levels, specifically customer churn, solvency and bad debt. 

“We have also continued to win business from new customers, albeit at a slower pace.

“We remain focussed on effective cash management and maintaining operational capability.

“At the same time, our cash-generative model has allowed us to continue to invest in strategically important projects that will enable us to emerge from the pandemic in a stronger position. 

“Looking ahead, forecasting the short-term impact of COVID-19 on GBG remains challenging.

“This is due to the dynamic nature of lockdowns in our key geographic markets, shifting government stimulus programmes and general economic headwinds presenting difficulties in determining demands for our services.

“For the medium-term we remain confident that certain factors will provide significant structural tailwinds, such as rapid digitalisation of business and increasing proliferation of online fraud.

“Our investments in product development are focussed on these themes and we also continue to review M&A opportunities in these areas …”