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RNS
PageGroup plc  -  PAGE   

Final Results

Released 07:00 07-Mar-2018

RNS Number : 9087G
PageGroup plc
07 March 2018
 

 

 

7 March 2018

 

 

Full Year Results for the Year Ended 31 December 2017

 

PageGroup plc ("PageGroup"), the specialist professional recruitment company, announces its full year results for the year ended 31 December 2017.

 

Financial summary

2017

2016

Change

Change CER*

Revenue

£1,371.5m

£1,196.1m

+14.7%

+9.8%

Gross profit

£711.6m

£621.0m

+14.6%

+9.8%

Operating profit

£118.3m

£101.0m

+17.2%

+11.3%

Profit before tax

£118.2m

£100.0m

+18.2%

 

Basic earnings per share

26.5p

23.1p

+14.7%

Diluted earnings per share

26.4p

23.1p

+14.3%

 

 

 

 

Total dividend per share (excl. special dividend)

12.50p

11.98p

+4.3%

Total dividend per share (incl. special dividend)

25.23p

18.44p

 

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS*

 

·     Group gross profit up 9.8% to £711.6m, a record year for the Group

·     22 countries had record years, with strong gross profit performances in many markets:

France +25%, Germany +12%, Spain +16%, Greater China +14%,

Latin America +14%, South East Asia +12% and the US +21%

·     Strongest regional gross profit growth in EMEA (47% of the Group) up 15.0%

·     Operating profit at the top end of market expectations of £118.3m

·     Operating profit increased 11.3% driven by increase in gross profit

·     Conversion rate** up to 16.6% (2016: 16.3%)

·     Net increase of 786 fee earners (+16.7%); total headcount at a record level of 7,029

·     78:22 fee earner to support staff headcount ratio, a new record for the Group

·     Total ordinary dividend increased 4.3% to 12.50p

·     £40m special dividend paid in October of 12.73p per share

 

 

*All growth rates in constant currency at prior year rates unless otherwise stated

**Operating profit as a percentage of gross profit

 

Commenting on the results and the outlook, Steve Ingham, Chief Executive Officer of PageGroup, said:

 

"2017 was a year of many records. We delivered our best ever gross profit for the Group, as well as for each of our five Large High Potential Markets and three of our four regions. At the end of the year, we had a record number of fee earners, as well as our highest ever fee earner to operational support staff ratio.

 

"Gross profit increased by 9.8% and operating profit by 11.3% in constant currencies. Operating profit for the Group was £118.3m and our conversion rate increased to 16.6%. This was driven by a combination of improved business performance and operational efficiencies, broadly offset by challenging economic conditions in markets such as Australia, Brazil, Singapore and the UK. This was achieved alongside our investments in fee earners, up 16.7%, and the cost of our strategic transformation programmes.

 

"In 2017, foreign exchange impacted our results positively, with gross profit benefiting by £29m and operating profit by £6m.

 

"We continue to invest in our digital strategy to consistently improve how we source and then engage with our customers. Our websites and advertising programmes continue to drive applications with almost all countries hitting all-time highs in January 2018 to increase awareness of our brands. We had over 100 million views of our content through the year and have seen this rewarded, winning the LinkedIn global award for the Most Socially Engaged Recruiter for a second time. We look forward to delivering a more comprehensive update on our approach to Digital & Technology, as well as several other topics, at our Investor afternoon on 15 May.

 

"In 2018 we will continue to invest in our Large High Potential Markets, as well as in markets with favourable trading conditions. However, we remain cautious in several markets as we progress through the year: primarily in the UK, where we will focus on protecting margins; in Australia, where we have invested in headcount and a new office in Canberra; and in Brazil, which remains challenging, despite a stronger performance in the fourth quarter. We will, as always, continue to focus on driving profitable growth while being able to respond quickly to changes in market conditions."

 

 

 

Analyst meeting

The Company will be presenting to a meeting of analysts at 9.00am today at

FTI Consulting

200 Aldersgate

Aldersgate Street

London EC1A 4HD

 

If you are unable to attend in person, you can also follow the presentation on the following link:

http://www.investis-live.com/pagegroup/5a8c02052ce68913003e3dc9/vwdv

 

Please use the following dial-in numbers to join the conference:

United Kingdom (Local)          020 3936 2999

All other locations                    +44 20 3936 2999

Please quote the access code 39 33 04 to gain access to the call

The presentation and a recording of the meeting will be available on the Company's website later today at

http://www.page.com/investors/investor-library/2018.aspx

 

Enquiries:

 

PageGroup plc

01932 264446

Steve Ingham, Chief Executive Officer

 

Kelvin Stagg, Chief Financial Officer

 

 

 

FTI Consulting

020 3727 1340

Richard Mountain/Susanne Yule

 

 

MANAGEMENT REPORT

CAUTIONARY STATEMENT

This Management Report has been prepared solely to provide additional information to shareholders to assess the Group's strategies and the potential for those strategies to succeed.

 

This Management Report contains certain forward-looking statements. These statements are made by the Directors in good faith based on the information available to them up to the time of their approval of this report and such statements should be treated with caution due to the inherent uncertainties, including both economic and business risk factors, underlying any such forward looking information.

 

GROUP STRATEGY

At PageGroup we have a clear strategic vision. We aim to be the leading specialist recruiter in each of the markets in which we operate. We have sought to achieve this by developing a significant market presence in major global economies, as well as targeting new markets where we see the greatest potential for long-term gross profit growth at attractive conversion rates. 

 

We offer our services across a broad range of disciplines and specialisms, solely within the professional recruitment market. Our origins are in permanent recruitment, but a quarter of gross profit is now in temporary placements, where local culture and market conditions allow. In particular, we focus on opportunities where our industry and market expertise can set us apart from our competition. This enables us to offer a premium service that is valued by clients and attracts the highest calibre of candidates.

 

Our mix of permanent to temporary recruitment reflects the balance of our business mix, both in terms of brands, where Michael Page, our largest brand, operating at higher salary levels, has a naturally higher level of permanent recruitment, as well as our geographic mix. We are market leaders in regions such as Latin America, Greater China and South East Asia, where for cultural reasons, white collar temporary recruitment has only recently emerged.

 

PageGroup is focused on delivering against three key strategic objectives to achieve its strategic vision and sustainable financial returns. These are: 1) to look for organic, high margin and diversified growth; 2) to position the business to be efficiently scalable and highly flexible to reflect market conditions; and 3) as a people-oriented, organically driven business, to nurture and develop talent and skills which are fundamental to us achieving long-term sustainable growth.

 

We therefore invest significantly in our people, as the recruitment, retention and development of the best talent available is central to our ability to grow the business and to manage our resources through economic cycles. Investment in the business has been focused on developing the long-term sustainability of the business and is supported by significant balance sheet strength and cash flow generation. 

 

Organic, scalable growth

Our strategy is to grow organically, achieved by drawing upon the skill and experience of proven PageGroup management, ensuring we have the best and most experienced home-grown talent in each key role. Our team-based structure and profit share business model is highly scalable. The small size of our specialist teams means we can increase headcount rapidly to achieve growth when market conditions are favourable.

 

Conversely, when market conditions tighten, these entrepreneurial, profit-sharing teams reduce in size largely through natural attrition. Consequently, our cost base contracts during the lean times. Our strategy for organic growth has served the business well over the 40 years since its inception and we believe it will continue to do so. We have grown from a small, single-discipline recruitment company operating in one country to a large multidiscipline, multinational business, operating in 36 countries represented by our four key brands of Page Executive, Michael Page, Page Personnel and Page Outsourcing.

 

Diversification by region and discipline

Our strategy is to expand and diversify the Group by industry sectors, professional disciplines, geography and level of focus, be it Page Executive, Michael Page, Page Personnel or Page Outsourcing, with the objective of being the leading specialist recruitment consultancy in each of our chosen markets.

 

As recruitment is a cyclical business, impacted significantly by the strength of economies, diversification is an important element of our strategy in order to reduce our dependency on individual businesses or markets, thereby increasing the resilience of the Group. This strategy is pursued entirely through the organic growth of existing and new teams, offices, disciplines and countries, maintaining a consistent team and meritocratic culture as we grow.

 

Talent and skills development

We recognise that it is our people who are at the heart of everything we do, particularly as an organically grown business where ensuring we have a talent pool with experience through economic cycles and across both geographies and disciplines is critical. Investing in our people is, therefore, a vital element of our strategy. We seek to find the highest calibre staff from a wide range of backgrounds and then do our very best to retain them through offering a fulfilling career and an attractive working environment. 

 

This includes a team-based structure, a profit share business model and continuous training and career development, often internationally. Our strong track record of internal career moves and promotion from within means that people who join us know that they could be our future senior managers and main Board Directors.

 

Sustainable growth

When we invest in a new business, be it a new country, a new office or a new discipline, we do so for the long term. Downturns in the general economy of a country or in specific industries will inevitably have a knock-on effect on the recruitment market. However, it has been our practice in the past, and remains our intention, to maintain our presence in our chosen markets through these downturns, while closely controlling our cost base. In this way, we are able to retain our highly capable management teams in whom we have invested. Normally, we find that we gain market share during downturns, which positions our business for market-leading rates of growth when the economy improves. Pursuing this approach means that we carry spare capacity during downturns, which can have a negative effect on profitability in the short term. A strong balance sheet is, therefore, essential to support the business at these times.

 

Our strategic priorities comprise the following:

 

·     increase the scale and diversification of PageGroup by growing organically existing and new teams, offices, disciplines, brands and countries;

·     manage the business with a team and meritocratic culture, while delivering a consistent and high quality client and candidate experience;

·     invest through cycles in our Large, High Potential Markets of Germany, Greater China, Latin America, South East Asia and the US to achieve scale and a market leading position;

·     manage our fee earner headcount in all other markets to reflect prevailing market conditions, by selectively adding to geographies and disciplines where there is positive growth momentum, while reducing headcount where the outlook for growth or fee earner productivity is poor;

·     focus on operational support consistency; and

·     focus on succession planning and international career paths to encourage retention and development of key staff.

The main factors that could affect the business and the financial results are described in the "Principal Risks and Uncertainties" section in the current PageGroup plc Annual Report and Accounts 2017.

 

 

GROUP RESULTS  

GROSS PROFIT

 

Reported

CER

Year-on-year

% of Group

2017 (£m)

2016 (£m)

%

%

EMEA

47%

332.3

271.9

+22.2%

+15.0%

UK

20%

140.8

146.3

-3.8%

-3.8%

Asia Pacific

19%

137.2

119.7

+14.6%

+10.2%

Americas

14%

101.3

83.1

+21.9%

+16.4%

Total

100%

711.6

621.0

+14.6%

+9.8%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Permanent

75%

536.0

470.0

+14.1%

+9.4%

Temporary

25%

175.6

151.0

+16.2%

+11.1%

 

At constant exchange rates, the Group's revenue and gross profit for the year ended 31 December 2017 both increased 9.8%. At reported rates, revenue increased 14.7% to £1,371.5m (2016: £1,196.1m) and gross profit increased 14.6% to £711.6m (2016: £621.0m).

 

The Group's revenue mix between temporary and permanent placements was 60:40 (2016: 60:40) and for gross profit our permanent to temporary ratio was 75:25 (2016: 76:24).  Revenue from temporary placements comprises the salaries of those placed, together with the margin charged. This margin on temporary placements increased slightly to 21.2% in 2017 (2016: 21.0%). Overall, pricing remained relatively stable across all regions, although a stronger pricing environment was experienced in markets and disciplines where there were increased instances of candidate shortages.

 

Our Large, High Potential Markets category increased 14.8% in constant currencies and achieved a record gross profit of £222.7m and growth of 19.9% in reported rates. All five markets included within this category achieved record gross profit and delivered double digit growth.

 

Total Group headcount increased by 930 in the year, up 15.2% to a record 7,029. This comprised a net increase of 786 fee earners (+16.7%) and an increase of 144 operational support staff (+10.4%), reflecting the continued strong focus on operational efficiency. The ratio of net additions in the year was 85 fee earners to 15 operational support staff.

 

As a result, our fee earner to operational support staff ratio improved to a record level of 78:22. In total, administrative expenses increased 14.1% to £593.2m (2016: £520.1m). The Group's operating profit from trading activities totalled £118.3m (2016: £101.0m), an increase of 11.3% at constant rates and 17.2% in reported rates. 

 

The Group's conversion rate of gross profit to operating profit from trading activities increased to 16.6% (2016: 16.3%). This reflected a combination of steadily improving conditions in a number of markets, offset in part by more challenging conditions in some of the Group's larger individual markets such as Australia, Brazil, Singapore and the UK.

 

OPERATING PROFIT AND CONVERSION RATES

 

The Group's organic growth model and profit-based team bonus ensures cost control remains tight. Approximately three-quarters of costs were employee related, including wages, bonuses, share-based long-term incentives, and training & relocation costs.

 

Our fee earner to operational support staff ratio improved to a record level of 78:22, with our ongoing focus on conversion rates and maximising productivity from the investment of 227 fee earners added in 2016, as well as the further 786 added in 2017. Net additions in the year were at a ratio of 85 fee earners to 15 operational support staff.

 

The combination of gross profit growth, the weakness in Sterling and the ongoing focus on cost control resulted in operating profit of £118.3m (2016: £101.0m), an increase of 17.2% in reported rates and 11.3% in constant currencies.

 

Depreciation and amortisation for the year totalled £19.1m (2016: £17.1m). This included amortisation relating to our operating system, PRS, of £8.1m (2016: £7.6m).

 

The Group's conversion rate for the period of 16.6% was an improvement from 16.3% in 2016. This was achieved alongside the Group's investment programme, which was focused in particular on our Large, High Potential Markets, and despite the tough market conditions faced in some of the Group's core markets as well as our operational support programmes.

 

In EMEA, conversion increased from 19.0% to 21.0%. This was driven by the benefits of operational gearing coming through, combined with cost benefits from our new European shared service centre in Barcelona. In the UK, the conversion rate fell from 16.5% to 11.4%, while Asia Pacific remained broadly flat at 17.1% (2016: 17.3%), despite our high level of fee earner investment in the region. The America's conversion rate increased from 5.3% to 9.0% due to an improvement in trading conditions.

 

The Group benefited from movements in foreign exchange rates, as Sterling weakened against almost all currencies in which the Group operates. The weakness of Sterling increased the Group's revenue, gross profit and operating profit by £58m, £29m and £6m, respectively.

 

A net interest charge of £0.2m reflected the continuing low interest rate environment. Interest of £0.2m was received on cash balances held through the year, offset by financial charges relating to the Group's invoice discounting facility and overdrafts used to support local operations of £0.4m.

 

Earnings per share and dividends

In 2017, basic earnings per share increased 14.7% to 26.5p (2016: 23.1p), reflecting the improved business performance, as well as some favourable foreign exchange movements. Diluted earnings per share, which takes into account the dilutive effect of share options, was up 14.3% to 26.4p (2016: 23.1p).

 

The Group's strategy is to operate a policy of financing the activities and development of the Group from our retained earnings and to maintain a strong balance sheet position. We first use our cash to satisfy our operational and investment requirements and to hedge our liabilities under the Group's share plans. We then review our liquidity over and above this requirement to make returns to shareholders, firstly by way of ordinary dividend.

 

Our policy is to grow this ordinary dividend over the course of the economic cycle, in line with our long-term growth rate; we believe this enables us to sustain the level of ordinary dividend payments during a downturn as well as increasing it during more prosperous times.

 

Cash generated in excess of these first two priorities will be returned to shareholders through supplementary returns, using special dividends or share buybacks.

 

In line with the improved growth rates and increase in operating profits, a final dividend of 8.60p (2016: 8.23p) per ordinary share is proposed. When taken together with the interim dividend of 3.90p (2016: 3.75p) per ordinary share, this would imply an increase in the total dividend for the year of 4.3% over 2016 to 12.50p per ordinary share.

 

The proposed final dividend, which amounts to £27.1m, will be paid on 18 June 2018 to shareholders on the register as at 18 May 2018, subject to shareholder approval at the Annual General Meeting on 7 June 2018.

 

After consultation with our shareholders, we also paid a special dividend of 12.73p per share on 11 October 2017, totalling £40m. We will continue to monitor our cash position in 2018 and will make returns to shareholders in line with the above policy.

 

Cash flow and balance sheet

Cash flow in the year was strong, with £124.5m (2016: £121.3m) generated from operations. The closing net cash balance was £95.6m at 31 December 2017, an increase of £2.8m on the prior year. The movements in the Group's cash flow in 2017 reflected the underlying trading conditions, with a £19.6m increase in working capital.

 

The Group had a £50m invoice financing arrangement and £13m uncommitted overdraft facilities to support cash flows across its operations and ensure rapid access to funds should they be required. None of these were in use at the year end.

 

Income tax paid in the year was £38.2m (2016: £32.5m). The increase of £5.7m over 2016 arose largely because of a payment in the UK on agreeing the taxation of prior year repayments of VAT which had been fully provided for.

Net capital expenditure in 2017 was £16.2m (2016: £23.4m). Spending on software decreased from 2016 when we completed the implementation of our new operating system, PRS and started the transition to our new Global Finance System. Spending on property, plant and equipment decreased due to large office moves in 2016 in New York, Tokyo and Neuilly, Paris, which is now the Group's largest office by headcount. There were no such significant moves in 2017.

 

Dividend payments were up on the prior year at £78.3m (2016: £56.3m), as a result of the larger special dividend paid in 2017. There was also a significant increase in cash receipts from share option exercises. In 2017, £12.7m was received by the Group from the exercise of options compared to £0.4m received in 2016, driven by the higher share price. In 2016, £15.1m was also spent on the purchase of 3.7m shares by the Employee Benefit Trust to satisfy future obligations under our employee share plans. No such purchase was made in 2017. 

 

The most significant item in our balance sheet was trade receivables, which amounted to £245.4m at 31 December 2017 (2016: £205.1m), comprising permanent fees invoiced and salaries and fees invoiced in the temporary placement business, but not yet paid. Day's sales in debtors at 31 December 2017 were 53 days (2016: 50 days).

 

EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA (EMEA)

EMEA is the Group's largest region, contributing 47% of the Group's gross profit in the year. With operations in 18 countries, PageGroup has a strong presence in the majority of EMEA markets, and is the clear leader in specialist permanent recruitment in the two largest, France and Germany.  Across the region, permanent placements accounted for 70% and temporary placements 30% of gross profit.

 

The region comprises a number of large, proven markets, such as France, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands, across which there is a broad range of competition. EMEA also includes one of the Group's Large, High Potential Markets, Germany, which has low penetration rates (markets where less than 30% of recruitment is outsourced) and significant growth potential, particularly in temporary recruitment. In addition, there are a number of markets such as Poland, Turkey and Africa that are less developed, with limited competition, but are increasingly looking for professional recruitment services. The Middle East, where PageGroup is the largest international recruiter, has some of the Group's highest conversion rates.  

 

EMEA 

£m

Growth rates

(47% of Group in 2017)

2017

2016

Reported

CER

Gross profit

332.3

271.9

+22.2%

+15.0%

Operating profit

69.7

51.7

+34.8%

+26.2%

 

In 2017, the EMEA region saw strong market conditions, with 10 countries delivering record gross profit for the year. In constant currency, revenue increased 18.1% on 2016 and gross profit increased by 15.0%. In reported rates, revenue in the region was up 25.6% to £676.0m (2016: £538.4m), and gross profit increased 22.2% to £332.3m (2016: £271.9m). The region benefited from favourable foreign exchange movements that increased revenue and gross profit by £40m and £20m, respectively.

 

Our larger businesses in France, Germany and the Netherlands, together representing nearly 60% of the region by gross profit, grew 25%, 12% and 14% respectively, for the full year in constant currencies. Michael Page Interim in Germany, where last year we invested heavily in temporary and contracting recruitment, grew 19%. Overall, 9 countries, representing 84% of the region, delivered double-digit growth during the year.

 

The Middle East and Africa, which represented 4% of the region, saw an improvement compared to the prior year with a decline of -1% (2016: -7%).

 

The 34.8% increase in operating profit for 2017 to £69.7m (2016: £51.7m) and the increase in the conversion rate to 21.0% (2016: 19.0%) was the result of continued favourable market conditions in the region, combined with good control over costs as a result of our transition in to our European Shared Service Centre.

 

Headcount across the region increased by 443 (+17.4%) to 2,996 at the end of 2017 (2016: 2,553). The majority of this increase was fee earners, as the business added headcount where growth opportunities were strongest, predominately in France, Germany and Southern Europe. 

 

UNITED KINGDOM

The UK represented 20% of the Group's gross profit in 2017 and is the Group's largest single market, operating from 27 offices covering all major cities. It is a mature, highly competitive and sophisticated market with the majority of vacant positions being outsourced to recruitment firms. PageGroup has a market leading presence in permanent recruitment across the UK and a growing presence in temporary recruitment. In the UK, permanent placements accounted for 70% and temporary placements 30% of gross profit.

 

The UK business operates under the four brands of Michael Page, Page Personnel, Page Executive and Page Outsourcing with representation in 12 specialist disciplines via the Michael Page brand. There remains opportunity to roll-out new discipline businesses under the lower-level Page Personnel brand, which now represents 22% of UK gross profit.  Our Michael Page business was impacted the most by the current macro-economic uncertainty, with activity levels stronger at the lower salary levels and in Page Personnel.

 

  UK 

£m

 

(20% of Group in 2017)

2017

2016 

 Growth rate

Gross profit

140.8 

 146.3

-3.8% 

Operating profit

16.0

24.2

-33.8%

 

Revenue of £312.9m (2016: £324.5m) and gross profit of £140.8m (2016: £146.3m) declined 3.6% and 3.8% respectively, reflecting continued economic uncertainty. 

 

UK disciplines such as Engineering (+6%), Property & Construction (+10%) and Technology (+7%), performed well. However, market conditions in our Legal discipline (-11%) and Sales and Marketing disciplines were more challenging, with Marketing down 11%. Michael Page and Page Personnel were affected relatively equally, down 4% and 3%, respectively. These challenging market conditions resulted in a decline in operating profit of 33.8% to £16.0m (2016: £24.2m) and a reduction in the conversion rate to 11.4% (2016: 16.5%). Excluding the effect of share plan charges, for which the UK takes a disproportionate charge due to location of senior management, conversion would have been around 2 percentage points higher.

 

Headcount remained broadly flat at 1,407 at the end of December 2017 (2016: 1,411).  With a relatively high staff turnover of newer, less experienced consultants, we will continue to monitor activity and will, if needed, use that turnover to lower headcount, and therefore costs, by natural attrition.

 

 ASIA PACIFIC

Asia Pacific represented 19% of the Group's gross profit in 2017, with 73% of the region being Asia and 27% Australasia.  Other than in the financial centres of Tokyo, Singapore and Hong Kong, the Asian market is generally highly under-developed, but offers attractive opportunities in both international and domestic markets at good conversion rates.  Two of our Large, High Potential Markets, Greater China and South East Asia, are in this region. With a highly experienced management team, over 1,000 staff and limited competition, the size of the opportunity in Asia is significant. Across Asia, driven by cultural attitudes towards white collar temporary recruitment, permanent placements accounted for 95% and temporary placements 5% of gross profit.  

 

Australasia is a mature, well-developed and highly competitive recruitment market. PageGroup has a meaningful presence in permanent recruitment in the majority of the professional disciplines and major cities in Australia and New Zealand. Page Personnel has a growing presence and significant potential to expand and grow market share.

 

 

  Asia Pacific 

£m

Growth rates

(19% of Group in 2017)

2017

2016

Reported

CER

Gross profit

137.2

119.7

+14.6%

+10.2%

Operating profit

23.5

20.7

+13.5%

+8.6%

 

In Asia Pacific, in constant currencies, revenue increased 7.4% and gross profit increased by 10.2%. In reported rates, revenues increased 12.7% to £236.3m (2016: £209.7m), while gross profit rose 14.6% to £137.2m (2016: £119.7m).

 

Asia, representing 14% of the Group, delivered gross profit growth of 15%.  Greater China returned to growth in the year up 14% (2016 -4%), driven by Mainland China where our offices in Beijing and Shanghai performed particularly well. In Hong Kong, where we have a large number of multinational clients, we also saw an improvement in market conditions and delivered growth of 7%. South East Asia was up 12% on the prior year driven by growth in Indonesia and Malaysia up 48% and 11% respectively.  Singapore, despite challenging market conditions, returned to growth in the second half of the year.  Japan, where we invested heavily in fee earners, saw growth of 23% and delivered a record year. In Australia, where we were up 1% against the prior year, we saw an improvement towards the end of the year following a 25% investment in our fee earner headcount and the opening of a new office in Canberra.

 

Operating profit rose 13.5% to £23.5m (2016: £20.7m), with the conversion rate broadly flat at 17.1% (2016: 17.3%) despite our fee earner investment in the region.  Headcount across the region rose by 327 (27.1%) in the year, ending the year at 1,532 (2016: 1,205). The majority of these headcount additions were in Asia, particularly Greater China and Japan.

  

THE AMERICAS

The Americas represented 14% of the Group's gross profit in 2017, being North America (56% of the region) and Latin America (44% of the region). Both the US and Latin America are two of the Large, High Potential Markets in our growth strategy.  The US, where we have eight offices, has a well-developed recruitment industry, but in many disciplines, especially technical, there is limited national competition of any scale.  PageGroup's breadth of professional specialisms and geographic reach is uncommon and provides a competitive advantage.  Latin America is a very under-developed region, where PageGroup enjoys the leading market position with over 600 employees in six countries and 14 offices. There are few international competitors and none with regional scale.  Across Latin America, permanent placements accounted for 91% of gross profit and temporary placements 9%.

  

Americas 

£m

Growth rates

(14% of Group in 2017)

2017

2016

Reported

CER

Gross profit

101.3

83.1

+21.9%

+16.4%

Operating profit

9.2

4.4

+108.6%

+96.5%

  

In constant currencies, revenue increased by 12.8% and gross profit increased by 16.4%. In reported rates, revenue increased by 18.5% to £146.3m (2016: £123.5m) while gross profit improved 21.9% to £101.3m (2016: £83.1m). During the year, the region benefited from favourable foreign exchange movements that increased revenue and gross profit by £7m and £5m, respectively.

 

In North America, our gross profit increased by 18% in constant currencies. This was driven by the US (+ 21%) where we saw strong performances from our regional offices including Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles, as our strategy of diversification continued into disciplines outside of Financial Services in New York.

 

In Latin America, gross profit was up 14% year-on-year in constant currencies. Our business in Brazil returned to growth, up +3%, as we saw an improvement in trading conditions as the year progressed.  Excluding Brazil, the other countries in the region, which made up two thirds of Latin America, saw growth of 20% and all delivered record years.

 

Operating profit increased 108.6% to £9.2m (2016: £4.4m), with a conversion rate of 9.0% (2016: 5.3%). Headcount increased by 164 (+17.6%) in 2017 to 1,094 (2016: 930).

 

OTHER FINANCIAL ITEMS

 

Foreign exchange

 

Foreign exchange provided a substantial benefit to our reported results for the year, increasing gross profit by £29m, administrative expenses by £23m and therefore operating profit by £6m. This impact was felt globally, but the largest impact was within EMEA, where gross profit increased by £20m.

 

Taxation

 

The tax charge for the year was £35.1m (2016: £27.9m).  This represented an effective tax rate of 29.7% (2016: 27.9%).  The rate is higher than the effective UK rate for the calendar year of 19.25% (2016: 20.0%) principally due to the impact of disallowable expenditure and higher tax rates in overseas countries.  There are some countries in which the tax rate is lower than the UK, but the impact is very small either because the countries are not significant contributors to Group profit or the tax rate difference is not significant.

 

The effective rate was impacted principally by the US tax reform which reduced the headline rate of tax from 35% to 21% from 1 January 2018.  This resulted in a write down of deferred tax assets representing the future value for accumulated losses and other deductions which, together with other adjustments in the US, increased the tax charge by 2.4%. Going forwards, depending on the relative profitability of the US within PageGroup and having regard to the interaction of federal tax with state tax, we may expect the headline rate to benefit the Group ETR by c. 0.5 percentage points. In addition, the tax rate was impacted by tax on share based payments (0.7% decrease), a reduction in provisions for tax risk (0.6%) and the recognition/derecognition of losses (0.3% decrease).

The tax charge for the year reflects the Group's tax strategy, which is aligned to business goals.  It is PageGroup's policy to pay its fair share of taxes in the countries in which it operates and deal with its tax affairs in a straightforward, open and honest manner.  The Group's tax strategy is set out in detail on our website in the Investor section under "Responsibilities".

 

Share options and share repurchases

At the beginning of 2017 the Group had 17.9m share options outstanding, of which 7.8m had vested, but had not been exercised. During the year, options were granted over 1.7m shares under the Group's share option plans. Options were exercised over 3.2m shares, generating £12.7m in cash, and options lapsed over 1.0m shares. At the end of 2017, options remained outstanding over 15.5m shares, of which 8.6m had vested, but had not been exercised. During 2017, no shares were repurchased by the Company or the Group's Employee Benefit Trust, and no shares were cancelled (2016: 3.7m shares were purchased at a cost of £15.1m).

 

KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS (KPIs)

KPI

Definition, method of calculation and analysis

Financial

 

Gross profit growth

How measured: Gross profit growth represents revenue less cost of sales expressed as the percentage change over the prior year. It consists principally of placement fees for permanent candidates and the margin earned on the placement of temporary candidates.

Why it's important: This metric indicates the degree of income growth in the business. It can be impacted significantly by foreign exchange movements in our international markets. Consequently, we look at both reported and constant currency metrics.

How we performed in 2017: Gross profit increased 14.6% in reported rates, 9.8% in constant currencies, as favourable currency movements impacted the full-year figures.

Relevant strategic objective: Organic growth

Gross profit diversification

How measured: Total gross profit from: a) geographic regions outside the UK; and b) disciplines outside of Accounting & Financial Services, each expressed as a percentage of total gross profit.

Why it's important: These percentages give an indication of how the business has diversified its revenue streams away from its historic concentrations in the UK and from the Accounting & Financial Services discipline.

How we performed in 2017: Geographies: the percentage increased to 80.2% from 76.4% in 2016, demonstrating a high degree of diversification. This also reflected strong trading conditions in the majority of our overseas businesses, along with the weakness of Sterling.

Disciplines: the percentage increased to 63.3% (2016: 61.6%), as our professional disciplines of  HR, IT, Executive Search and Secretarial performed strongly, combined with good growth in our technical disciplines, comprising Property & Construction, Procurement & Supply Chain and Engineering.

Relevant strategic objective: Diversification

Ratio of gross profit generated from permanent and temporary placements

How measured: Gross profit from each type of placement expressed as a percentage of total gross profit.

Why it's important: This ratio reflects both the current stage of the economic cycle and our geographic spread, as a number of countries culturally have minimal temporary placements. It gives a guide as to the operational gearing potential in the business, which is significantly greater for permanent recruitment.

How we performed in 2017: The ratio improved slightly to 75:25 (2016: 76:24), with strong growth in temporary placements in our more mature markets as well the emerging temporary market in places such as Asia and Latin America.

 

Relevant strategic objective: Diversification

Basic earnings per share (EPS)

How measured: Profit for the year attributable to the Group's equity shareholders, divided by the weighted average number of shares in issue during the year, and compared to the prior year.

Why it's important: This measures the underlying profitability of the Group and the progress made against the prior year.

How we performed in 2017: The Group saw a 14.7% rise in Basic EPS to 26.5p. Improvements in trading and favourable foreign exchange movements drove strong growth in the Group's EPS in 2017.

Relevant strategic objective: Sustainable growth

Net cash

How measured: Cash and short-term deposits less bank overdrafts and loans.

Why it's important: The level of net cash reflects our cash generation and conversion capabilities and our success in managing our working capital. It determines our ability to reinvest in the business, to return cash to shareholders and ensure we remain financially robust through cycles.

How we performed in 2017: Net cash increased to £95.6m (2016: £92.8m). This was after dividend payments of £78.3m (including a special dividend of £40.1m).

Relevant strategic objective: Sustainable growth

Strategic

Fee earner headcount growth

How measured: Number of fee earners and directors involved in revenue-generating activities at the year end, expressed as the percentage change compared to the prior year.

Why it's important: Growth in fee earners is a guide to our confidence in the business and macro-economic outlook, as it reflects our expectations as to the level of future demand for our services above the existing capacity currently within the business.

How we performed in 2017: Fee earner headcount grew 16.7% in the year, resulting in 5,497 fee earners at the end of the year, a record for the Group.

Relevant strategic objective: Sustainable growth

Gross profit per fee earner

How measured: Gross profit divided by the average number of fee-generating staff, calculated on a rolling monthly average basis.

Why it's important: This is our indicator of productivity, which is affected by levels of activity in the market, capacity within the business and the number of recently hired fee earners who are not yet at full productivity. Currency movements can also impact this figure.

How we performed in 2017: In reported rates, this increased to £139.9k from £135.2k. However, in constant currency, it fell slightly to £133.8k primarily as a result of the 16.7% investment in fee earners during 2017. 

 

Relevant strategic objective: Organic growth

Fee earner: support staff headcount ratio

How measured: The percentage of fee earners compared to operational support staff at the year end, expressed as a ratio.

Why it's important: This reflects the operational efficiency in the business in terms of our ability to grow the revenue-generating platform at a faster rate than the staff needed to support this growth.

How we performed in 2017: The ratio improved to a record 78:22 from 77:23 in 2016. This was driven by 16.7% fee earner headcount growth, as well as operational support initiatives. The ratio of new joiners in the year was 85:15.

 

Relevant strategic objective: Sustainable growth

Conversion rate

How measured: Operating profit (EBIT) before exceptional items expressed as a percentage of gross profit.

Why it's important: This reflects the level of fee-earner productivity and the Group's effectiveness at cost control in the business, together with the degree of investment being made for future growth.

How we performed in 2017: The Group's conversion rate increased to 16.6% (2016: 16.3%), with a combination of steadily improving conditions in a number of markets, offset in part by more challenging conditions in some of the Group's larger individual markets, such as the UK and Brazil.

 

Relevant strategic objective: Sustainable growth

People

Employee index

How measured: A key output of the employee surveys undertaken periodically within the business.

Why it's important: A positive working environment and motivated team helps productivity and encourages retention of key talent within the business.

How we performed in 2017: We recorded an 83% positive score for employee engagement in the latest Employee Survey in 2017.  Our previous survey was in 2015 where we recorded 81%.  This was a combination of questions, including: how valued our people felt; how proud they were to work for PageGroup; and the level of trust and recognition they received for their work.

Relevant strategic objective: Sustainable growth

Management experience

How measured: Average tenure of front-office management measured as years of service for directors and above.

Why it's important: Experience through the economic cycle and across both geographies and disciplines is critical for an organic cyclical business operating across the globe. Our organic business model relies on an experienced management pool to enable flexibility in resourcing and senior management succession planning.

How we performed in 2017: The average tenure of the Group's management increased from 11.6 years to 11.9 years, with a particular increase in EMEA.

Relevant strategic objective: Talent and Skills development

Total GHG emissions

How measured: Direct and Indirect GHG emissions calculated in line with the UK Government's 2017 DEFRA reporting standards. Principally based on data from a sample of our offices, covering 63% of the Group by headcount, and extrapolated for the Group as a whole.

Why it's important: The emissions calculations look at the CO2e impact of our operations in absolute terms.

How we performed in 2017: Direct GHG emissions relating to the combustion of fuel decreased by 11.2% to 1,627 tonnes CO2e, while Indirect GHG emissions, through the purchase of energy such as electricity, increased by 5.5% to 4,948 tonnes.

Relevant strategic objective: Sustainable growth.

Intensity values of GHG emissions

How measured: Intensity values for GHG emissions are based on property and vehicle energy-derived emissions per 1,000 headcount. Headcount is viewed as being the most representative metric for PageGroup's activity levels and is unaffected by issues such as business mix or foreign exchange variations.

Why it's important: Intensity values help to normalise the GHG metrics and place them in the context of the Group's changing business profile, particularly in terms of increases in headcount. It helps to identify where progress has been made on emissions reduction.

How we performed in 2017: Energy-derived emissions were reduced by 9.6% compared with 2016, largely due to relocations to more energy efficient offices, changes in fuel sources, and an increase in headcount without a corresponding increase in the number of offices.

Relevant strategic objective: Sustainable growth.

 

The source of data and calculation methods year-on-year are on a consistent basis, including changes resulting from the use of 2017 DEFRA conversion factors. The movements in KPIs are in line with expectations.

 

Steve Ingham

Kelvin Stagg

Chief Executive Officer

Chief Financial Officer

6 March 2018

 

 

Consolidated Income Statement

For the year ended 31 December 2017

 

 

 

 

2017

 

 

2016

 

Note

 

£'000

 

 

£'000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenue

3

 

1,371,534

 

 

1,196,125

Cost of sales

 

 

(659,966)

 

 

(575,091)

Gross profit

3

 

711,568

 

 

621,034

Administrative expenses

 

 

(593,246)

 

 

(520,082)

Operating profit

3

 

118,322

 

 

100,952

Financial income

4

 

229

 

 

117

Financial expenses

4

 

(389)

 

 

(1,073)

Profit before tax

3

 

118,162

 

 

99,996

Income tax expense

5

 

(35,082)

 

 

(27,900)

Profit for the year

 

 

83,080

 

 

72,096

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Attributable to:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Owners of the parent

 

 

83,080

 

 

72,096

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earnings per share

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic earnings per share (pence)

8

 

26.5

 

 

23.1

Diluted earnings per share (pence)

8

 

26.4

 

 

23.1

 

The above results all relate to continuing operations

 

 

 

Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income

For the year ended 31 December 2017

 

 

2017

 

 

2016

 

£'000

 

 

£'000

 

 

 

 

 

Profit for the year

83,080

 

 

72,096

 

 

 

 

 

Other comprehensive income/(loss) for the year

 

 

 

 

Items that may subsequently be reclassified to profit and loss:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Currency translation differences

(2,888)

 

 

22,105

Gain / (loss) on hedging instruments

1,340

 

 

(2,468)

 

 

 

 

 

Total comprehensive income for the year

81,532

 

 

91,733

 

 

 

 

 

Attributable to:

 

 

 

 

Owners of the parent

81,532

 

 

91,733

 

Consolidated Balance Sheet

As at 31 December 2017

 

 

 

 

2017

 

 

2016

 

Note

 

£'000

 

 

£'000

Non-current assets

 

 

 

 

 

 

Property, plant and equipment

9

 

30,158

 

 

29,461

Intangible assets - Goodwill and other intangible

 

 

1,685

 

 

1,696

                            - Computer software

 

 

32,473

 

 

36,187

Deferred tax assets

 

 

14,637

 

 

16,547

Other receivables

10

 

10,513

 

 

7,640

 

 

 

89,466

 

 

91,531

Current assets

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trade and other receivables

10

 

299,089

 

 

259,328

Current tax receivable

 

 

15,652

 

 

12,743

Cash and cash equivalents

13

 

95,605

 

 

92,796

 

 

 

410,346

 

 

364,867

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total assets

3

 

499,812

 

 

456,398

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current liabilities

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trade and other payables

11

 

(187,730)

 

 

(175,059)

Current tax payable

 

 

(22,166)

 

 

(24,404)

 

 

 

(209,896)

 

 

(199,463)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net current assets

 

 

200,450

 

 

165,404

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Non-current liabilities

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other payables

11

 

(19,489)

 

 

(9,944)

Deferred tax liabilities

 

 

(370)

 

 

(430)

 

 

 

(19,859)

 

 

(10,374)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total liabilities

3

 

(229,755)

 

 

(209,837)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net assets

 

 

270,057

 

 

246,561

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Capital and reserves

 

 

 

 

 

 

Called-up share capital

 

 

3,268

 

 

3,259

Share premium

 

 

92,677

 

 

90,458

Capital redemption reserve

 

 

932

 

 

932

Reserve for shares held in the employee benefit trust

 

 

(58,931)

 

 

(72,941)

Currency translation reserve

 

 

29,858

 

 

32,746

Retained earnings

 

 

202,253

 

 

192,107

Total equity

 

 

270,057

 

 

246,561

 

Consolidated Statement of Changes in Equity

For the year ended 31 December 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reserve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

for shares

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Called-up

 

 

 

Capital

 

held in the

 

Currency

 

 

 

 

 

share

 

Share

 

redemption

 

employee

 

translation

 

Retained

 

Total

 

capital

 

premium

 

reserve

 

benefit trust

 

reserve

 

earnings

 

equity

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

£'000

Balance at 1 January 2016

3,258

 

90,268

 

932

 

(61,365)

 

10,641

 

178,025

 

221,759

Currency translation differences

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

22,105

 

-

 

22,105

Net income recognised directly in equity

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

22,105

 

-

 

22,105

Loss on hedging instruments

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

(2,468)

 

(2,468)

Profit for the year ended 31 December 2016

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

72,096

 

72,096

Total comprehensive income for the year

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

22,105

 

69,628

 

91,733

Purchase of shares held in employee benefit trust

-

 

-

 

-

 

(15,058)

 

-

 

-

 

(15,058)

Exercise of share plans

1

 

190

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

173

 

364

Reserve transfer when shares held in the employee benefit trust vest

-

 

-

 

-

 

3,482

 

-

 

(3,482)

 

-

Credit in respect of share schemes

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

4,442

 

4,442

Debit in respect of tax on share schemes

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

(368)

 

(368)

Dividends

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

(56,311)

 

(56,311)

 

1

 

190

 

-

 

(11,576)

 

-

 

(55,546)

 

(66,931)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balance at 31 December 2016 and 1 January 2017

3,259

 

90,458

 

932

 

(72,941)

 

32,746

 

192,107

 

246,561

Currency translation differences

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

(2,888)

 

-

 

(2,888)

Net loss recognised directly in equity

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

(2,888)

 

-

 

(2,888)

Profit on hedging instruments

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

1,340

 

1,340

Profit for the year ended 31 December 2017

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

83,080

 

83,080

Total comprehensive (loss)/income for the year

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

(2,888)

 

84,420

 

81,532

Exercise of share plans

9

 

2,219

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

10,458

 

12,686

Reserve transfer when shares held in the employee benefit trust vest

-

 

-

 

-

 

14,010

 

-

 

(14,010)

 

-

Credit in respect of share schemes

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

6,809

 

6,809

Credit in respect of tax on share schemes

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

720

 

720

Dividends

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

(78,251)

 

(78,251)

 

9

 

2,219

 

-

 

14,010

 

-

 

(74,274)

 

(58,036)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balance at 31 December 2017

3,268

 

92,677

 

932

 

(58,931)

 

29,858

 

202,253

 

270,057

                                     

 

 

Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows

For the year ended 31 December 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017

 

2016

 

Note

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash generated from operations

12

 

124,464

 

121,319

Income tax paid

 

 

(38,154)

 

(32,499)

Net cash from operating activities

 

 

86,310

 

88,820

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash flows from investing activities

 

 

 

 

 

Purchases of property, plant and equipment

 

 

(13,415)

 

(14,111)

Purchases of intangible assets

 

 

(7,508)

 

(11,153)

Proceeds from the sale of property, plant and equipment, and computer software

4,688

 

1,890

Interest received

 

 

229

 

117

Net cash used in investing activities

 

 

(16,006)

 

(23,257)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash flows from financing activities

 

 

 

 

 

Dividends paid

 

 

(78,251)

 

(56,311)

Interest paid

 

 

(1,845)

 

(460)

Issue of own shares for the exercise of options

 

 

12,686

 

364

Purchase of shares into the employee benefit trust

 

 

-

 

(15,058)

Net cash used in financing activities

 

 

(67,410)

 

(71,465)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net increase/(decrease) in cash and cash equivalents

 

 

2,894

 

(5,902)

Cash and cash equivalents at the beginning of the year

 

92,796

 

95,018

Exchange (loss)/gain on cash and cash equivalents

 

 

(85)

 

3,680

Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the year

13

 

95,605

 

92,796

               

 

 

Notes to the consolidated preliminary results

For the year ended 31 December 2017

 

 

1.    Corporate information

 

PageGroup plc (the "Company") is a limited liability company incorporated in Great Britain and domiciled within the United Kingdom whose shares are publicly traded.  The consolidated preliminary results of the Company as at and for the year ended 31 December 2017 comprise the Company and its subsidiaries (together referred to as the "Group").

 

The consolidated preliminary results of the Group for the year ended 31 December 2017 were approved by the directors on 6 March 2018. The Annual General Meeting of PageGroup plc will be held at the registered office, Page House, The Bourne Business Park, 1 Dashwood Lang Road, Addlestone, Surrey, KT15 2QW on 7 June 2018 at 9.30am.

 

 

2.    Accounting policies

 

Basis of preparation

 

Whilst the information included in this preliminary announcement has been prepared in accordance with the recognition and measurement criteria of International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRSs") as adopted for use in the European Union and as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board, this announcement does not itself contain sufficient information to comply with IFRSs.

 

The consolidated financial statements comprise the financial statements of the Group as at 31 December 2017 and are presented in UK Sterling and all values are rounded to the nearest thousand (UK £'000), except when otherwise indicated.

 

Going concern

 

The Group's business activities, together with the factors likely to affect its future development, performance and position are set out in the Management Report. The Management Report also includes a summary of the Group's financial position, its cash flows and its borrowing facilities.

 

The directors believe the Group is well placed to manage its business risks successfully. The Group's forecasts and projections, taking account of reasonably possible changes in trading performance, show that the Group should be able to operate within the level of its current committed facilities.

 

After making enquiries, the directors have a reasonable expectation that the Company and the Group have adequate resources to continue in operational existence for the foreseeable future, a period of not less than 12 months from the date of this report. Accordingly, they continue to adopt the going concern basis in preparing the Annual Report and Accounts.

 

Nature of financial information

 

The financial information contained within this preliminary announcement for the 12 months to 31 December 2017 and 12 months to 31 December 2016 do not comprise statutory financial statements for the purpose of the Companies Act 2006, but are derived from those statements. The statutory accounts for PageGroup plc for the 12 months to 31 December 2016 have been filed with the Registrar of Companies and those for the 12 months to 31 December 2017 will be filed following the Company's Annual General Meeting.

 

The auditor's reports on the accounts for both the 12 months to 31 December 2017 and 12 months to 31 December 2016 were unqualified and did not include a statement under Section 498 (2) or (3) of the Companies Act 2006.

 

The Annual Report and Accounts will be available for shareholders in April 2018.

 

 

New accounting standards, interpretations and amendments adopted by the Group

 

The accounting policies adopted in the preparation of the condensed consolidated preliminary results are consistent with those followed in the preparation of the Group's annual consolidated financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2016.

 

We are continuing with our review and implementation of two new Accounting Standards, "IFRS 15 - Revenue from Contacts with Customers" and "IFRS 16 - Leases". The potential impact on our accounts of both of these Standards were disclosed in our Annual Report and Accounts for the year ended 31 December 2016. Our expectations as to their impact remain broadly in line with these disclosures. A final conclusion on IFRS 15 and a further update on IFRS 16 will be provided in this year's Annual Report and Accounts.

 

The Group has not early adopted any standard, interpretation or amendment that has been issued but is not yet effective.

 

 

3.    Segment reporting

 

All revenues disclosed are derived from external customers.

 

The accounting policies of the reportable segments are the same as the Group's accounting policies. Segment operating profit represents the profit earned by each segment including allocation of central administration costs. This is the measure reported to the Group's Board, the chief operating decision maker, for the purpose of resource allocation and assessment of segment performance.

 

(a) Revenue, gross profit and operating profit by reportable segment

 

 

 

 

 

Revenue

 

Gross Profit

 

 

 

 

2017

 

2016

 

2017

 

2016

 

 

 

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EMEA

 

 

675,983

 

538,403

 

332,288

 

271,863

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

United Kingdom

 

312,915

 

324,548

 

140,768

 

146,313

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asia Pacific

Australia and New Zealand

 

110,602

 

103,979

 

37,703

 

35,085

 

 

Asia

 

125,688

 

105,692

 

99,469

 

84,644

 

 

Total

 

236,290

 

209,671

 

137,172

 

119,729

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Americas

 

 

146,346

 

123,503

 

101,340

 

83,129

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1,371,534

 

1,196,125

 

711,568

 

621,034

 

 

 

 

 

Operating Profit

 

 

 

 

2017

 

2016

 

 

 

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EMEA

 

 

69,674

 

51,685

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

United Kingdom

 

15,978

 

24,153

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asia Pacific

Australia and New Zealand

 

5,480

 

4,592

 

 

Asia

 

18,039

 

16,135

 

 

Total

 

23,519

 

20,727

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Americas

 

 

9,151

 

4,387

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operating profit

 

118,322

 

100,952

 

 

 

 

 

Net finance expense

 

(160)

 

(956)

 

 

 

 

 

Profit before tax

 

118,162

 

99,996

 

The above analysis by destination is not materially different to analysis by origin.

 

 

The analysis below is of the carrying amount of reportable segment assets, liabilities and non-current assets. Segment assets and liabilities include items directly attributable to a segment as well as those that can be allocated on a reasonable basis. The individual reportable segments exclude current income tax assets and liabilities. Non-current assets include property, plant and equipment, computer software, goodwill and other intangible.

 

(b) Segment assets, liabilities and non-current assets by reportable segment

 

 

 

Total Assets

 

Total Liabilities

 

 

2017

 

2016

 

2017

 

2016

 

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EMEA

 

219,024

 

187,257

 

109,100

 

96,270

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

United Kingdom

 

123,423

 

119,036

 

51,193

 

43,306

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asia Pacific

Australia and New Zealand

 

24,639

 

24,869

 

10,349

 

10,526

 

Asia

 

61,176

 

56,182

 

18,132

 

16,462

 

Total

 

85,815

 

81,051

 

28,481

 

26,988

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Americas

 

55,898

 

56,311

 

18,815

 

18,869

Segment assets/liabilities

 

484,160

 

443,655

 

207,589

 

185,433

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Income tax

 

15,652

 

12,743

 

22,166

 

24,404

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

499,812

 

456,398

 

229,755

 

209,837

 

 

 

 

Property, Plant & Equipment

 

Intangible Assets

 

 

2017

 

2016

 

2017

 

2016

 

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EMEA

 

12,218

 

10,707

 

3,668

 

3,862

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

United Kingdom

 

6,894

 

7,142

 

30,116

 

33,278

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asia Pacific

Australia and New Zealand

 

1,174

 

1,376

 

2

 

22

 

 

Asia

 

3,397

 

3,053

 

31

 

31

 

 

Total

 

4,571

 

4,429

 

33

 

53

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Americas

 

6,475

 

7,183

 

341

 

690

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30,158

 

29,461

 

34,158

 

37,883

 

 

The below analyses in notes (c) revenue and gross profit by discipline (being the professions of candidates placed) and (d) revenue and gross profit generated from permanent and temporary placements have been included as additional disclosure over and above the requirements of IFRS 8 "Operating Segments".

 

 

(c) Revenue and gross profit by discipline

 

 

Revenue

 

Gross Profit

 

2017

 

2016

 

2017

 

2016

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accounting and Financial Services

559,480

 

511,449

 

261,062

 

238,366

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Legal, Technology, HR, Secretarial and Other

337,857

 

294,972

 

161,424

 

138,830

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Engineering, Property & Construction, Procurement & Supply Chain

290,830

 

227,163

 

158,714

 

124,825

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marketing, Sales and Retail

183,367

 

162,541

 

130,368

 

119,013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1,371,534

 

1,196,125

 

711,568

 

621,034

 

 

(d) Revenue and gross profit generated from permanent and temporary placements

 

 

Revenue

 

Gross Profit

 

2017

 

2016

 

2017

 

2016

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Permanent

543,262

 

476,321

 

536,010

 

469,960

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Temporary

828,272

 

719,804

 

175,558

 

151,074

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1,371,534

 

1,196,125

 

711,568

 

621,034

 

 

4.    Financial income / (expenses)

 

 

2017

 

2016

 

£'000

 

£'000

Financial income

 

 

 

Bank interest receivable

229

 

117

 

 

 

 

Financial expenses

 

 

 

Bank interest payable

(241)

 

(465)

Interest on discounting of French construction participation tax

(148)

 

(608)

 

(389)

 

(1,073)

 

 

5.    Taxation

 

Tax on profit was £35.1m (2016: £27.9m). This represented an effective tax rate of 29.7% (2016: 27.9%). The rate is higher than the effective UK Corporation Tax rate for the year of 19.25% (2016: 20.0%) due to profits and disallowable items of expenditure being generated in countries where corporation tax rates are higher than in the UK.

 

 

6.    Dividends

 

 

2017

 

2016

 

£'000

 

£'000

Amounts recognised as distributions to equity holders in the year:

 

 

 

Final dividend for the year ended 31 December 2016 of 8.23p per ordinary share (2015: 7.90p)

25,857

 

24,564

Interim dividend for the year ended 31 December 2017 of 3.90p per ordinary share (2016: 3.75p)

12,287

 

11,660

Special dividend for the year ended 31 December 2017 of 12.73p per ordinary share (2016: 6.46p)

40,107

 

20,087

 

78,251

 

56,311

 

 

 

 

Amounts proposed as distributions to equity holders in the year:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proposed final dividend for the year ended 31 December 2017 of 8.60p per ordinary share (2016: 8.23p)

27,144

 

25,599

 

The proposed final dividend had not been approved by the Board at 31 December and therefore has not been included as a liability. The comparative final dividend at 31 December 2016 was also not recognised as a liability in the prior period.

 

The proposed final dividend of 8.60p (2016: 8.23p) per ordinary share will be paid on 18 June 2018 to shareholders on the register at the close of business on 18 May 2018.

 

 

7.    Share-based payments

 

In accordance with IFRS 2 "Share-based Payment", a charge of £7.7m has been recognised for share options and other share-based payment arrangements (including social charges) (31 December 2016: £4.2m).

 

 

8.    Earnings per ordinary share

 

The calculation of the basic and diluted earnings per share is based on the following data:

 

Earnings

2017

 

2016

 

 

 

 

Earnings for basic and diluted earnings per share (£'000)

83,080

 

72,096

 

 

 

 

Number of shares

 

 

 

Weighted average number of shares used for basic earnings per share ('000)

313,491

 

311,534

Dilution effect of share plans ('000)

1,287

 

802

Diluted weighted average number of shares used for diluted earnings per share ('000)

314,778

 

312,336

 

 

 

 

Basic earnings per share (pence)

26.5

 

23.1

Diluted earnings per share (pence)

26.4

 

23.1

 

The above results all relate to continuing operations.

 

 

9.    Property, plant and equipment

 

Acquisitions and Disposals

During the period ended 31 December 2017 the Group acquired property, plant and equipment with a cost of £13.4m (31 December 2016: £14.1m).

 

Property, plant and equipment with a carrying amount of £3.9m were disposed of during the year ended 31 December 2017 (2016: £1.4m), resulting in a profit on disposal of £0.2m (2016: loss of £0.2m).

 

10.   Trade and other receivables

 

 

2017

 

2016

 

£'000

 

£'000

Current

 

 

 

Trade receivables

253,555

 

210,145

Less provision for impairment of receivables

(8,161)

 

(5,070)

Net trade receivables

245,394

 

205,075

Other receivables

9,839

 

9,612

Accrued income

31,938

 

37,623

Prepayments

11,918

 

7,018

 

299,089

 

259,328

Non-current

 

 

 

Other Receivables

10,513

 

7,640

 

 

11.   Trade and other payables

 

 

2017

 

2016

 

£'000

 

£'000

Current

 

 

 

Trade payables

6,240

 

7,515

Other tax and social security

54,615

 

46,813

Other payables

28,312

 

21,407

Accruals

97,467

 

98,084

Deferred income

1,096

 

1,240

 

187,730

 

175,059

Non-current

 

 

 

Deferred income

18,628

 

9,702

Other tax and social security

861

 

242

 

19,489

 

9,944

 

 

12.   Cash flows from operating activities

 

 

2017

 

2016

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

 

 

 

Profit before tax

118,162

 

99,996

Depreciation and amortisation charges

19,094

 

17,065

(Income)/loss on sale of property, plant and equipment, and computer software

(159)

 

186

Share scheme charges

6,796

 

4,235

Net finance costs

160

 

956

Operating cash flow before changes in working capital

144,053

 

122,438

Increase in receivables

(42,629)

 

(21,061)

Increase in payables

23,040

 

19,942

Cash generated from operations

124,464

 

121,319

 

 

13.   Cash and cash equivalents

 

 

2017

 

2016

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

 

 

 

Cash at bank and in hand

95,327

 

78,022

Short-term deposits

278

 

14,774

Cash and cash equivalents in the statement of cash flows

95,605

 

92,796

 

 

The Group operated a multi-currency notional cash pool. The main Eurozone subsidiaries and the UK-based Group Treasury subsidiary participated in this cash pool.  It is the Group's intention to extend the scope of the participation to other Group companies going forward. The structure facilitates interest and balance compensation of cash and bank overdrafts.

PageGroup maintains a Confidential Invoice Facility with HSBC whereby the Group has the option to discount facilities in order to advance cash on its receivables. The facility is used only ad hoc in case the Group needs to fund any major GBP cash outflow.

 

 

14.   Annual General Meeting

 

The Annual General Meeting of PageGroup plc will be held at Page House, The Bourne Business Park, 1 Dashwood Lang Road, Addlestone, Weybridge, Surrey, KT15 2QW on 7 June 2018 at 9.30am.

 

 

15.   Publication of Annual Report and Accounts

 

This preliminary statement is not being posted to shareholders. The Annual Report and Accounts will be posted to shareholders in due course and will be delivered to the Registrar of Companies following the Annual General Meeting of the Company.

 

Copies of the Annual Report and Accounts can be downloaded from the Company's website http://www.page.com/investors/investor-library/2018.aspx

 

Responsibility statement of the directors on the annual report

 

The responsibility statement below has been prepared in connection with the company's full annual report for the year ending 31 December 2017. Certain parts of the annual report are not included within this announcement.

 

 

We confirm that, to the best of our knowledge:-

 

a) the financial statements, prepared in accordance with IFRSs as adopted by the European Union, give a true and fair view of the assets, liabilities, financial position and profit or loss of the company and the undertakings included in the consolidation taken as a whole; and

 

b) the management report, which is incorporated into the directors' report, includes a fair review of the development and performance of the business and the position of the company and the undertakings included in the consolidation taken as a whole, together with a description of the principal risks and uncertainties they face.

 

 

 

 

On behalf of the Board

 

S Ingham

K Stagg

Chief Executive Officer

Chief Financial Officer

 

 

6 March 2018

6 March 2018

 

 


This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange
 
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