The AIM-traded firm said it had made an earnings-enhancing acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Chapman IP – a UK attorney practice based in the south of England -in a deal worth £6.6m.
It also confirmed that its chief executive and finance director roles would be split. Edward Murgitroyd, after four years as CEO of the operating business, becomes CEO of Murgitroyd Group, while Keith Young continues as finance director.
Non executive director Dr Kenneth Chrystie is retiring from the board with immediate effect, and fellow non-exec Mark Kemp-Gee will step down at the annual general meeting.
Helga Chapman, founder and former managing director of Chapman IP, has been appointed a non-executive director with immediate effect.
The board said the process to appoint an additional independent non-executive director is at an advanced stage.
The announcements came with interim figures showing profit before tax for the half-year rose to £1.7m from £1.67m, with basic earnings per share improving 3% to 14.2p. Revenue increased 5% to £22.67m. The company declared an interim dividend of 7p per share, up 7.7% year-on-year from 6.5p.
Chairman Ian Murgitroyd said: “I am pleased to report an increase in both revenue and profit before tax, which has allowed us again to propose an increased interim dividend, despite continuing macro-economic and political uncertainties.
“While Murgitroyd operates in a market with good long-term prospects, we are not complacent and will continue our capital investment programme initiated in 2018 through the current financial year, underpinning our future growth plans.
“Reflecting the continuing importance to the group of its European patent and trade mark attorney practice, the acquisition of Southampton-based Chapman IP complements Murgitroyd’s existing European network and client base.“
“Today we also announce a number of important board changes, signalling our intent to refresh the non-executive board, and adopting a conventional executive board structure in anticipation of the next phase of our growth and our increasing activity in the US.”
Murgitroyd said it had a “strong” net cash position at period end of £2.03m, down from £2.83m at the start of the period.