Shine Corporate, the Australia-listed pioneer which rivals Slater and Gordon, has said it will continue to steer clear of potential expansion into the UK while the government finalises potentially far-reaching reforms of the personal injury market.
In its annual report, published today, the claimant PI firm said it will ‘continue to monitor opportunities’ internationally, adding: ‘With the current reforms in the UK and difficulties in that market, the group is not actively pursuing opportunities in the UK but maintains a “watching brief”.’
Shine, which has more than 600 staff in offices across Australia, has been eyeing the UK since 2000. But the firm has gone quiet more recently, even moving last November to assure the Australian stock exchange it had ‘no exposure’ to the UK market, after former chancellor George Osborne unveiled controversial reform proposals.
Shine’s annual results, also published yesterday, represent something of a recovery for the business following a weak operating performance in a troubled first half. The firm met its mid-year revised underlying profit forecast of A$44m (£25.4m) and also generated strong operating cashflow.
Income climbed sharply in the second six months of 2015/16 to $A87.5m, up from A$64m in the first half. Improved cashflow generated stemmed from a record year of fees billed, allowing the company to cut its short-term liabilities.
Shine’s share price has fallen sharply from a 52-week high of A$2.55, but has recovered steadily since January to $A1.25.
Analysts at the Motley Fool commented: ‘Based on Shine’s second-half performance, there is little doubt that the shares appear cheap, but that doesn’t mean they are a low-risk proposition.
‘Shine still faces intense competition from the likes of Slater and Gordon in the personal injury market and this could create a headwind for the company because its generates around 78% of its revenues from this division.’
Shine has a longstanding link with the US and is supported by consumer advocate Erin Brockovich.