- Payments group Universe posted a first-half loss as higher spending offset a rise in sales.

Pre-tax losses for the six months through June amounted to £1.11 million, compared to year-on-year losses of £0.83 million.

Revenue rose 20% to £11.70 million and adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation amounted to £0.32 million.

Universe said it had current visibility for second-half revenues of £10.0 million through existing recurring and repeatable revenues, augmented by its order book.

'The first half of 2021 saw continued impacts from the Covid-19 pandemic, including lockdowns in the first quarter,' chief executive Andrew Blazye said.

'In addition, we appointed a new senior management team who are finalising the development of a refocussed strategy.'

'Against this background, I am delighted that we achieved revenues in excess of the same period in 2020, which was coupled with the renewal of two significant contracts.'

'With a sound balance sheet showing an improving net debt position and undrawn banking facilities, we remain cautiously optimistic that we can meet the board's expectations in 2021 and see growth in the coming years.'

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