At today's Annual General Meeting of Empresaria Group plc ("Empresaria" or "the Group"), the international specialist staffing group, the Board will make the following statement:
Group strategy is to develop an international specialist staffing group balanced by geography and sector and with a strong emphasis on temporary staffing operations. There are two drivers behind this strategy; to gain access to higher growth economies and staffing markets, and to reduce the risks inherent in cyclical markets and volatile economies through diversification and focus on more stable revenue streams.
Our focus on developing markets and economies alleviated some of the downward pressure on revenues and margins in 2009 and is now demonstrating its benefit in 2010. Revenues, net fee income and profit for the Group are materially ahead of last year and ahead of Board expectations with all three reporting regions showing year on year growth.
Revenues for the current financial year to April, excluding discontinued operations, are 17% up on the same period in 2009 and net fee income is up 24% on the same period. These volume increases are driven largely by growth in temporary staffing revenues in the UK and Germany along with growing demand for a combination of staffing and HR services offered by Group companies in Asia, particularly for corporate training and Recruitment Process Outsourcing solutions. In addition, the UK operations have experienced an increase in permanent recruitment activity, a trend that may well be more transitory given the uncertainty as to the outlook for the UK economy.
Group profitability is much improved as a consequence of higher sales volumes, improved gross margin percentages and the effect of cost reductions made in the UK and Continental Europe during 2009. In addition, the Group is now benefiting from increased profit contribution from its rapidly maturing and fast growing portfolio of Asian companies that commenced trading as start up operations over recent years. Although the Board remains cautious as to the outlook for the global economy, it now expects full year profits to be materially ahead of current market expectations.