Australian Family Lawyers to make ASX debut this week

Australian Family Lawyers to make ASX debut this week

A backdoor listing of Australian Family Lawyers (ASX: AFL) has been approved by the stock exchange with trading expected to begin on Friday this week.

Founded by Edward Finn in 2015, the law firm aims to disrupt the conventional wisdom of relationship-driven business development in the legal profession, instead opting for an approach based on data and digital marketing.

The Sydney-based group saw an opportunity for a reverse takeover through Navigator Resources in Perth, whose shareholders voted in favour of the deal at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on 8 April.

The goal was to raise $6.5 million through the listing but by the time the offer was supposed to close on 1 May, only $5 million had been raised. 

This level of funding surpassed the minimum level required, but the listing date was postponed while discussions continued with the ASX. 

Since then the company has raised a further $912,494, and in an announcement today the ASX said AFL shares were expected to be reinstated to official quotation at the start of trading at 10am on 7 June, opening at a price of $0.20 per share.

The law firm is set to join the likes of Slater & Gordon (ASX: SGH), Shine (ASX: SHJ), Xenith IP Group (ASX: XIP), QANTM Intellectual Property (ASX: QIP) and IPH (ASX: IPH) in the listed legal space.

According to its prospectus the company notched revenues of $4.8 million in FY18, up 86.9 per cent on FY17. EBITDA also rose by almost 10-fold to $1.2 million.

In the first half of FY19, year-on-year EBITDA growth was more modest at 16.9 per cent with the figure reaching $730,318.

Net assets are estimated at close to $7.6 million.

It is estimated the IPO would have cost Australian Family Lawyers between $968,498 and $1.16 million.

Proposed new chairman Grant Dearlove believes has the potential to become Australia's largest family law firm.

"Currently our market is worth $1.1 billion in revenue per annum and in contrast to personal injury law, there is no dominant or national player despite the fact the markets are of a similar size. This represents a significant opportunity for AFL," says Dearlove.

It has been proposed that Finn will be the managing director and CEO, while other leadership positions have been proposed for Peter Bergin as CFO, Glen Dobbie as non-executive director and Alistair McKeough as company secretary. 

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