Empresaria Group plc ("Empresaria" or the "Group"), the international specialist staffing group, has continued to deliver on its strategy with a strong growth in profit over the prior year and earnings per share up 44% on 2013.
|2014||2013||% change||% change (constant currency)|
|Net fee income||£44.6m||£42.6m||5%||11%|
|Adjusted operating profit*||£6.6m||£6.0m||10%||16%|
|Profit before tax||£5.9m||£4.9m||20%||31%|
|Adjusted profit before tax*||£6.1m||£5.4m||13%||22%|
|Earnings per share (diluted)||7.5p||5.2p||44%|
|Adjusted earnings per share*||8.0p||6.2p||29%|
* adjusted to exclude amortisation of intangible assets, exceptional items and gain or loss on disposal of business
Chief Executive Joost Kreulen said:
"2014 has been a strong year for the Group with robust profit growth and a number of strategic milestones achieved. Following our brand led strategy, we have continued to invest in our existing businesses, opening several new offices worldwide, and have seen particularly positive results in Germany, India, Japan, Thailand and Australia.
The two investments made in the year, BW&P in Dubai and Ball and Hoolahan in the UK, were in line with our continuing strategy of maintaining a diversified balance of brands by geography and sector with Ball and Hoolahan strengthening our existing presence in the Creative and Digital arena and BW&P providing entry into a new geography. We expect both investments to contribute profitable growth for the Group in 2015.
We believe that market conditions are favourable and we look forward to growing our business further and creating value for our shareholders."
Empresaria Group plc via Redleaf
Joost Kreulen, Chief Executive
Spencer Wreford, Group Finance Director
Shore Capital (Nominated Adviser and Broker) 020 7408 4090
Bidhi Bhoma / Edward Mansfield
Redleaf PR (Financial PR) 020 7382 4730
Rebecca Sanders Hewett / Rachael Brown firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes for editors:
The Group delivered a strong growth in profit and earnings per share in 2014, despite the negative impact of foreign exchange.
In 2014, the Group generated revenue of £187.9m (2013: £194.4m). However, net fee income grew 5% to £44.6m (2013: £42.6m). There were three primary factors that influenced the small decline in revenue during the year: Firstly were adverse currency movements, in particular from Indonesia, Japan and the Euro-zone. On a constant currency basis revenue was up 2% and net fee income increased 11% on prior year. The second impact was lower volumes within the Technical & Industrial sector, due to the completion of a large airport project in the UK and a reduction in lower pay work in line with our strategy of focusing on professional and specialist job levels. Finally, the impact of the prior year disposal and branch closures outweighed revenues generated from the businesses acquired during the year.
Market conditions have generally been good during the year, particularly in the UK. However we are mindful that our markets continue to be influenced by uncertainty, illustrated by the recent drop in oil price and the impact of the Greek elections on the Euro currency.
We are pleased to report the gross margin increased to 23.8% (2013: 21.9%), helped by an increase in permanent sales of 7% and an increase in the temporary margin to 16.3% (2013: 15.3%), although temporary sales reduced by 4%. Permanent sales now account for 38% of net fee income (2013: 36%), helped by the new office openings in recent years being in markets that are primarily focused on permanent sales.
Operating profit grew by 16% to £6.4m (2013: £5.5m), with costs being tightly managed to help the conversion ratio improve to 14.7% (2013: 14.2%). Interest costs were down on the prior year due to the reduction in debt levels, resulting in profit before tax increasing 20% to £5.9m. On an adjusted basis, excluding amortisation, exceptional items and profit or loss on disposal of businesses, operating profit was £6.6m up 10% on prior year and profit before tax was £6.1m, up 13%.
Diluted earnings per share grew strongly by 44% to 7.5p in line with our vision to deliver sustainable growth in earnings per share. On an adjusted basis it grew by 29% to 8.0p, increasing for the third year in a row.
We have made good progress in reducing our debt. During the year the Group generated £6.7m of cash from operations which enabled a reduction in net debt from £15.2m to £9.8m during the period. This was achieved despite our continued investment in the business through opening new offices and purchasing stakes in two businesses in Dubai and the UK, the latter only being finalised in December 2014. The benefit of these investments will be seen over the next few years. We are committed to developing our brands for long-term profit growth through organic and external investment.