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PageGroup plc   -  PAGE   

Final Results Year Ended 31 December 2018

Released 07:00 06-Mar-2019

RNS Number : 9512R
PageGroup plc
06 March 2019
 

 

 

6 March 2019

 

 

Full Year Results for the Year Ended 31 December 2018

  

PageGroup plc ("PageGroup"), the specialist professional recruitment company, announces its full year results for the year ended 31 December 2018.

 

Financial summary

2018

2017

Change

Change CC*

Revenue

£1,549.9m

£1,371.5m

+13.0%

+14.0%

Gross profit

£814.9m

£711.6m

+14.5%

+15.9%

Operating profit

£142.5m

£118.3m

+20.4%

+20.7%

Profit before tax

£142.3m

£118.2m

+20.4%

 

Basic earnings per share

32.5p

26.5p

+22.6%

Diluted earnings per share

32.4p

26.4p

+22.7%

 

 

 

 

Total dividend per share (excl. special dividend)

13.10p

12.50p

+4.8%

Total dividend per share (incl. special dividend)

25.83p

25.23p

 

 

 

HIGHLIGHTS*

 

·     Group gross profit up 15.9% to £814.9m, a record year for the Group

·     Operating profit up 20.7% to £142.5m

·     Conversion rate** up to 17.5% (2017: 16.6%)

·     EPS +22.6% to a record 32.5p

·     Record gross profit for 23 countries and all five Large, High Potential markets:

Germany +29%, Greater China +19%, Latin America +30%, South East Asia +23% and the US +25%

·     Net increase of 619 fee earners (+11.3%); total headcount at a record level of 7,772

·     Improvement in fee earner to support staff headcount ratio, now 79:21

·     Total ordinary dividend increased 4.8% to 13.1p

·     £40.8m special dividend paid in October of 12.73p per share

 

 

*At constant currency - 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:

 

"2018 was a record year for the Group and we delivered our best ever gross profit performance in each of our five Large, High Potential Markets.

 

"Gross profit increased 15.9%, operating profit was up 20.7%, and importantly, our conversion rate increased to 17.5%. This result was due to a combination of improved business performance and increased operational efficiencies, balanced by the level of investment, which has produced positive operational gearing. We delivered Earnings Per Share growth of 22.6% to 32.5 pence, a record for the Group.

 

"We have made further progress on our strategic transformation programmes, completing our network of regional shared service centres, three out of four of which are now on our new global finance system. We are also making good progress on the transformation of our business technology function, which will standardise our systems globally and move them into the Cloud. Our progress was illustrated by our fee earner to operational support staff ratio ending the year at a new record of 79:21.

 

"Today the Board has proposed a final dividend of 9.00 pence per share, an increase of 4.7% on 2017, subject to Shareholders' approval at the AGM. Combined with the interim dividend of 4.10 pence per share and the special dividend of 12.73 pence per share, this represents a total dividend yield of 5.7% at the year end share price.

 

"We are mindful of the macro-economic uncertainties that exist, but we will continue to focus on driving profitable growth, while continuing our strategic investments towards our Vision of 10,000 headcount, £1bn of gross profit and £200m - £250m of operating profit. Our flexible and diversified business model ensures that we are able to respond quickly to changes in market conditions."

 

Analyst meeting

The Company will be presenting to a meeting of analysts at 8.30am 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:

https://www.investis-live.com/pagegroup/5c5da00fcad1ac0c009dfd39/tgfs

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 49 27 03 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/2019.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 our gross profit is 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 objectives to achieve its strategic vision and provide 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 in downturns. Our strategy for organic growth has served the business well over the 42 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 as it reduces 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 diverse 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. Our organic and team-based business model allows us to grow strongly when market conditions are favourable, enabling us to increase our fee earner headcount investment rapidly. Conversely, 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 organically growing 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 adding selectively to geographies and disciplines where there is positive growth momentum, while reducing headcount where the outlook for growth or fee earner productivity is weak;

·     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 PageGroup plc 2018 Annual Report and Accounts, which will be available to shareholders in April 2019.

 

 

GROUP RESULTS  

GROSS PROFIT

 

Reported

CC

Year-on-year

% of Group

2018 (£m)

2017 (£m)

%

%

EMEA

48%

394.3

332.3

+18.7%

+17.9%

Asia Pacific

20%

161.2

137.2

+17.5%

+20.6%

UK

17%

138.4

140.8

-1.7%

-1.7%

Americas

15%

121.0

101.3

+19.4%

+27.2%

Total

100%

814.9

711.6

+14.5%

+15.9%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Permanent

76%

621.7

536.0

+16.0%

+17.7%

Temporary

24%

193.2

175.6

+10.0%

+10.4%

 

At constant exchange rates, the Group's revenue increased 14.0% and gross profit increased 15.9% for the year ended 31 December 2018. At reported rates, revenue increased 13.0% to £1,549.9m (2017: £1,371.5m) and gross profit increased 14.5% to £814.9m (2017: £711.6m).

 

The Group's revenue mix between temporary and permanent placements was 59:41 (2017: 60:40) and for gross profit our permanent to temporary ratio was 76:24 (2017: 75:25).  Revenue from temporary placements comprises the salaries of those placed, together with the margin charged. This margin on temporary placements decreased slightly to 21.0% in 2018 (2017: 21.2%). 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 gross profit by 25% in constant currencies and achieved a record gross profit of £270.3m. All five markets included within this category achieved record gross profit.

Total Group headcount increased by 743 in the year, up 10.6% to a record 7,772. This comprised a net increase of 619 fee earners (+11.3%) and an increase of 124 operational support staff (+8.1%), reflecting the continued strong focus on operational efficiency. The ratio of net additions in the year was 83 fee earners to 17 operational support staff. As a result, our fee earner to operational support staff ratio improved to a new record level of 79:21. In total, administrative expenses increased 13.3% to £672.4m (2017: £593.2m). The Group's operating profit from trading activities totalled £142.5m (2017: £118.3m), an increase of 20.7% at constant rates and 20.4% in reported rates. 

 

The Group's conversion rate of gross profit to operating profit from trading activities increased to 17.5% (2017: 16.6%). This reflected a combination of steadily improving conditions in a number of markets, as well as the benefits from our recent investment to drive operational efficiencies. These were offset in part by more challenging conditions in markets such as the UK, as well as our continued investment in fee earner headcount.

 

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.

 

The combination of gross profit growth and the ongoing focus on cost control resulted in operating profit of £142.5m (2017: £118.3m), an increase of 20.4% in reported rates and 20.7% in constant currencies.

 

Depreciation and amortisation for the year totalled £19.7m (2017: £19.1m). This included amortisation relating to our operating system, PRS, of £6.9m (2017: £8.1m).    

 

We have completed our transition to a shared service centre delivery model, and also now have around half of the Group, by fee earners, live on our new Global Finance System. We are continuing with the transition of our Business Technology function to a global model, closing data centres and transitioning to the Cloud. These strategic investments have driven an improvement in both our fee earner to operational support staff ratio and our conversion rate.

 

Our fee earner to operational support staff ratio improved to a record level of 79:21, with our ongoing focus on conversion rates and maximising productivity from the investment of 786 fee earners added in 2017, as well as the further 619 added in 2018. Net additions in the year were at a ratio of 83 fee earners to 17 operational support staff.

 

The Group's conversion rate for the year of 17.5% was an improvement from 16.6% in 2017. 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 markets such as the UK, as well as our operational support programmes.

 

In EMEA, conversion increased from 21.0% to 21.7%. This was driven by the benefits of operational gearing coming through. In the UK, the conversion rate fell from 11.4% to 9.7%, in line with the tough trading conditions. In Asia Pacific, conversion fell slightly to 16.6% (2017: 17.1%), due to our high level of fee earner investment in the region. The Americas' conversion rate increased from 9.0% to 13.8% in line with our increased growth rate throughout the region.

 

The Group was adversely impacted by movements in foreign exchange rates, as Sterling strengthened marginally against a number of currencies in which the Group operates. The strengthening of Sterling decreased the Group's revenue and gross profit by £14m and £10m respectively, with a negligible impact on operating profit.

 

A net interest charge of £0.2m reflected the continuing low interest rate environment. Interest of £0.6m 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 £0.8m.

 

Earnings per share and dividends

In 2018, basic earnings per share increased 22.6% to 32.5p (2017: 26.5p), reflecting the improved business performance. Diluted earnings per share, which takes into account the dilutive effect of share options, was up 22.7% to 32.4p (2017: 26.4p).

 

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 to increase 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 9.00p (2017: 8.60p) per ordinary share is proposed. When taken together with the interim dividend of 4.10p (2017: 3.90p) per ordinary share, this would imply an increase in the total dividend for the year of 4.8% over 2017 to 13.1p per ordinary share.

 

The proposed final dividend, which amounts to £29.2m, will be paid on 17 June 2019 to shareholders on the register as at 17 May 2019, subject to shareholder approval at the Annual General Meeting on 24 May 2019.

 

After consultation with our shareholders, we also paid a special dividend of 12.73p per share (2017: 12.73p per share) on 10 October 2018, totalling £40.8m (2017: £40.1m). We will continue to monitor our cash position in 2019 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 £131.7m (2017: £124.5m) generated from operations. The closing net cash balance was £97.7m at 31 December 2018, broadly in line with the prior year. The movements in the Group's cash flow in 2018 reflected the underlying trading conditions, with a £37.7m increase in working capital.

 

The Group had a £50m invoice financing arrangement and £21m 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 £41.0m (2017: £38.2m) and net capital expenditure in 2018 was £24.4m (2017: £16.2m). Spending on software increased from 2017 as we continued the roll-out of our new Global Finance System. Spending on property, plant and equipment increased, mainly due to the increase in our fee earner and operational support headcount.

Dividend payments were up on the prior year at £81.3m (2017: £78.3m), as a result of the increased ordinary and special dividends paid in 2018. There was also a significant increase in cash receipts from share option exercises. In 2018, £26.9m was received by the Group from the exercise of options compared to £12.7m received in 2017, driven by the higher share price. In 2018, £11.6m was also spent on the purchase of 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 £288.2m at 31 December 2018 (2017: £245.4m), 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 2018 were 54 days (2017: 53 days).

 

EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA (EMEA)

EMEA is the Group's largest region, contributing 48% of the Group's gross profit in the year. With operations in 17 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 includes four of our Large, Proven markets, France, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands, across which there is a broad range of competition. EMEA also includes Germany, one of the Group's Large, High Potential markets, 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, which 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 one of the Group's highest conversion rates.  

 

EMEA 

£m

Growth rates

(48% of Group in 2018)

2018

2017

Reported

CC

Gross Profit

394.3

332.3

+18.7%

+17.9%

Operating Profit

85.6

69.7

+22.8%

+21.9%

Conversion Rate (%)

21.7%

21.0%

 

 

 

In 2018, the EMEA region saw strong market conditions, with 11 countries delivering record gross profit for the year. In constant currency, revenue increased 17.1% on 2017 and gross profit increased by 17.9%. In reported rates, revenue in the region was up 18.0% to £797.4m (2017: £676.0m), and gross profit increased 18.7% to £394.3m (2017: £332.3m). The region benefited from favourable foreign exchange movements which increased revenue and gross profit by £6m and £2m, respectively.

 

Our largest businesses in the region, France and Germany, together representing nearly half of the region by gross profit, grew 16% and 29% respectively, for the full year in constant currencies. Michael Page Interim in Germany, where we continue to invest heavily in temporary and contracting recruitment, grew 42%. Elsewhere we saw strong growth in Benelux of +19%, Italy +23% and Spain +8%, despite challenging trading conditions in Catalonia.   

 

The Middle East and Africa, which represented 4% of the region, saw a notable improvement compared to the prior year, with growth of 17% (2017: -1%).

 

The 22.8% increase in operating profit for 2018 to £85.6m (2017: £69.7m) and the increase in the conversion rate to 21.7% (2017: 21.0%) were the result of the benefit of operational gearing coming through, partially offset by significant investments in our Interim and contracting businesses, such as Germany, which have driven gross profit growth, but in the short-term impacted our conversion rate.

 

Headcount across the region increased by 303 (+10.1%) to 3,299 at the end of 2018 (2017: 2,996). The majority of this increase was fee earners, as the business added headcount where growth opportunities were strongest, predominately in France and Germany. 

 

 

 

ASIA PACIFIC

Asia Pacific represented 20% of the Group's gross profit in 2018, with 75% of the region being Asia and 25% Australasia.  Other than in the financial centres of Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo, the Asian market is generally highly under-developed, and 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 1,300 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

(20% of Group in 2018)

2018

2017

Reported

CC

Gross Profit

161.2

137.2

+17.5%

+20.6%

Operating Profit

26.8

23.5

+13.8%

+16.6%

Conversion Rate (%)

16.6%

17.1%

 

 

 

In Asia Pacific, in constant currencies, revenue increased 16.6% and gross profit increased by 20.6%. In reported rates, revenue increased 12.9% to £266.7m (2017: £236.3m), while gross profit rose 17.5% to £161.2m (2017: £137.2m). The region was adversely impacted by foreign exchange movements, which reduced reported revenue and gross profit by £9m and £4m, respectively.

 

Asia, representing 15% of the Group, delivered gross profit growth of 23%. Greater China delivered a record year, up 19% (2017: +14%) with strong growth throughout. In Hong Kong, where we have a large number of multinational clients, we saw an improvement in market conditions and delivered growth of 23%. However, Mainland China experienced more challenging trading conditions in the fourth quarter, driven by trade tariff uncertainty. South East Asia was up 23% on the prior year, with a strong performance in Singapore, up 29%. We also opened in Vietnam during the year, giving us our fifth country in South East Asia. India, where we now have over 120 fee earners, delivered a record year with growth of 49%. Japan, where we invested heavily in fee earners, saw growth of 30% and delivered a record year. In Australia, following our investment in fee earners and a new office in Canberra, we delivered growth of 14%.

 

Operating profit rose 13.8% to £26.8m (2017: £23.5m), with the conversion rate marginally down at 16.6% (2017: 17.1%), due to our fee earner investment in the region. Headcount across the region rose by 177 (11.6%) in the year, ending the year at 1,709 (2017: 1,532). The majority of these headcount additions were in Asia, particularly Greater China, India and Japan.

 

UNITED KINGDOM

The UK represented 17% of the Group's gross profit in 2018, 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 69% and temporary placements 31% of gross profit.

 

The UK business operates under the four brands of Michael Page, Page Personnel, Page Executive and Page Outsourcing, with representation in 13 specialist disciplines via the Michael Page brand. There remains opportunity to roll-out new discipline businesses under the lower salary level Page Personnel brand, which now represents 25% of UK gross profit.

 

UK 

£m

 

(17% of Group in 2018)

2018

2017

 Growth rate

Gross Profit

138.4

140.8 

-1.7% 

Operating Profit

13.4

16.0

-16.2%

Conversion Rate (%)

9.7%

11.4%

 

 

In the UK, revenue increased 0.2% to £313.5m (2017: £312.9m), whereas gross profit declined 1.7% to £138.4m (2017: £140.8m), reflecting continued economic uncertainty. 

 

The UK experienced challenging market conditions throughout the year due to continued Brexit uncertainty impacting candidate and client confidence. Page Personnel, which represents a quarter of the UK, grew 8% and delivered a record year. Michael Page, which is focused on more senior opportunities and was impacted to a greater extent by the uncertainty, declined -4%. These challenging market conditions resulted in a decline in operating profit of 16.2% to £13.4m (2017: £16.0m) and a reduction in the conversion rate to 9.7% (2017: 11.4%).

 

Headcount marginally increased to 1,436 at the end of December 2018 (2017: 1,407). The additions were in operational support, to deliver the Group's operational support strategic transformation programmes, with our fee earner headcount broadly flat in the year.  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.

 

THE AMERICAS

The Americas represented 15% of the Group's gross profit in 2018, being North America (58% of the region) and Latin America (42% of the region). 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 market leading position with over 800 employees in six countries and 13 offices. There are few international competitors and none with regional scale.  Across Latin America, permanent placements accounted for 93% of gross profit and temporary placements 7%.

  

AMERICAS

£m

Growth rates

(15% of Group in 2018)

2018

2017

Reported

CC

Gross Profit

121.0

101.3

+19.4%

+27.2%

Operating Profit

16.7

9.2

+82.7%

+87.3%

Conversion Rate (%)

13.8%

9.0%

 

 

  

In constant currencies, revenue increased by 25.5% and gross profit increased by 27.2%. In reported rates, revenue increased by 17.7% to £172.3m (2017: £146.3m) while gross profit improved 19.4% to £121.0m (2017: £101.3m). During the year, the region was impacted by adverse foreign exchange movements that decreased revenue and gross profit by £11m and £8m, respectively.

 

In North America, our gross profit increased by 25% in constant currencies with both the US and Canada delivering record years. In the US, which grew 25%, our strategy of diversification continued, with particularly strong performances from our regional offices of Boston, Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles. We increased our US fee earner headcount by 15% compared to last year, as we continued to invest in this Large, High Potential market.

 

In Latin America, gross profit was up 30% year-on-year in constant currencies. We added nearly 150 fee earners in the year, an increase of 30%, as we continued to invest in this Large, High Potential market. Our business in Brazil delivered growth of 20%, with Mexico, our largest country in Latin America, delivering a record year, with growth of 33%.  Elsewhere, the other four countries in the region, with a fee earner headcount of over 250, saw growth of 36% collectively, and all delivered record years.

 

Operating profit increased 82.7% to £16.7m (2017: £9.2m), with a conversion rate of 13.8% (2017: 9.0%). Headcount increased by 234 (+21.4%) in 2018 to 1,328 (2017: 1,094).

 

OTHER FINANCIAL ITEMS

 

Foreign exchange

 

Foreign exchange had an adverse impact on our reported results for the year, decreasing gross profit by £10m, administrative expenses by £10m and therefore no impact on operating profit. This impact was mainly within the Americas and Asia Pacific regions, partially offset by a favourable impact in EMEA.

 

Taxation

 

The tax charge for the year was £38.6m (2017: £35.1m).  This represented an effective tax rate of 27.1% (2017: 29.7%). The rate is higher than the effective UK rate for the calendar year of 19% (2017: 19.25%) principally due to the impact of higher tax rates in overseas countries and to a lesser extent disallowable expenditure. 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 in 2017 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 US deferred tax assets which, together with other adjustments in the US, increased the tax charge by 2.4%.  In 2018, the tax rate was impacted primarily by tax on share based payments (1.2% decrease) and the recognition/derecognition of losses (0.6% increase).

 

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 2018 the Group had 15.5m share options outstanding, of which 8.6m 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 6.1m shares, generating £26.9m in cash, and options lapsed over 0.5m shares. At the end of 2018, options remained outstanding over 10.6m shares, of which 4.3m had vested, but had not been exercised. During 2018, 2.2m shares were purchased for the Group's Employee Benefit Trust, and no shares were cancelled (2017: no shares were purchased or cancelled).

 

 

 

 

 

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 2018: Gross profit increased 14.5% in reported rates, 15.9% in constant currencies, as adverse 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 disciplines.

How we performed in 2018: Geographies: the percentage increased to 83.0% from 80.2% in 2017, demonstrating a high degree of diversification. This reflects strong trading conditions in the majority of our overseas businesses.

Disciplines: the percentage increased to 65.3% (2017: 63.3%), as our professional services disciplines 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 2018: The ratio increased slightly to 76:24 (2017: 75:25), with strong growth in markets where we have a higher ratio of permanent recruitment 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.

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

How we performed in 2018: The Group saw a 22.6% rise in Basic EPS to 32.5p. Improvements in trading and operational efficiencies drove strong growth in the Group's EPS in 2018.

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 to ensure we remain financially robust through cycles.

How we performed in 2018: Net cash increased to £97.7m (2017: £95.6m). This was after dividend payments of £81.3m (including a special dividend of £40.8m).

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 2018: Fee earner headcount grew by 619, or 11.3% in the year, resulting in 6,116 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 2018: In constant currency, it increased slightly to £140.0k (2017: £139.9k) as a result of the improved trading conditions. However, in reported rates, this decreased to £138.3k. 

 

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 2018: The ratio improved to a new record of 79:21 from 78:22 in 2017. This was driven by 11.3% fee earner headcount growth, as well as benefiting from our operational support initiatives. The ratio of new joiners in the year was 83:17.

 

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 2018: The Group's conversion rate increased to 17.5% (2017: 16.6%), with a combination of steadily improving conditions in a number of markets and the benefits of operational efficiencies, offset by sustained investment in our fee earner headcount.

 

Relevant strategic objective: Sustainable growth

People

Employee engagement 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 2018: We recorded an 83% positive score for employee engagement in the latest Employee Survey in 2017. 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. No survey was performed in 2018 and the next one is planned for 2019.

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 2018: The average tenure of the Group's management increased from 11.9 years to 12.0 years, with a particular increase in the Americas.

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 2018 DEFRA reporting standards. Principally based on data from a sample of our offices, covering 68% 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 2018: Direct GHG emissions relating to the combustion of fuel decreased by 4.3% to 1,882 tonnes CO2e, while Indirect GHG emissions, through the purchase of energy such as electricity, increased by 10.4% to 5,379 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 2018: Energy-derived emissions were reduced by 9.2% compared with 2017, largely due to an increase in headcount without a corresponding increase in the number of offices, along with changes in fuel sources and improvements in office energy efficiencies.

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 2018 DEFRA conversion factors. The movements in KPIs are in line with expectations.

 

 

 

 

Steve Ingham

Kelvin Stagg

Chief Executive Officer

 

Chief Financial Officer

5 March 2019

 

 

 

 

 

Consolidated Income Statement

For the year ended 31 December 2018

 

 

 

 

2018

 

2017

 

Note

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenue

3

 

1,549,941

 

1,371,534

Cost of sales

 

 

(735,039)

 

(659,966)

Gross profit

3

 

814,902

 

711,568

Administrative expenses

 

 

(672,439)

 

(593,246)

Operating profit

3

 

142,463

 

118,322

Financial income

4

 

631

 

229

Financial expenses

4

 

(819)

 

(389)

Profit before tax

3

 

142,275

 

118,162

Income tax expense

5

 

(38,572)

 

(35,082)

Profit for the year

 

 

103,703

 

83,080

 

 

 

 

 

 

Attributable to:

 

 

 

 

 

Owners of the parent

 

 

103,703

 

83,080

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earnings per share

 

 

 

 

 

Basic earnings per share (pence)

8

 

32.5

 

26.5

Diluted earnings per share (pence)

8

 

32.4

 

26.4

 

The above results all relate to continuing operations

 

 

 

 

Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income

For the year ended 31 December 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018

 

2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Profit for the year

 

 

 

 

 

103,703

 

83,080

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other comprehensive income/(loss) for the year

 

 

 

 

 

Items that may subsequently be reclassified to profit and loss:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Currency translation differences

 

 

 

 

 

4,359

 

(2,888)

(Loss) / gain on hedging instruments

 

 

 

 

 

(988)

 

1,340

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total comprehensive income for the year

 

 

 

107,074

 

81,532

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Attributable to:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Owners of the parent

 

 

 

 

 

107,074

 

81,532

 

 

Consolidated Balance Sheet

As at 31 December 2018

 

 

 

 

2018

 

2017

 

Note

 

£'000

 

£'000

Non-current assets

 

 

 

 

 

Property, plant and equipment

9

 

35,564

 

30,158

Intangible assets - Goodwill and other intangibles

 

 

2,019

 

1,685

                            - Computer software

 

 

31,377

 

32,473

Deferred tax assets

 

 

17,487

 

14,637

Other receivables

10

 

12,746

 

10,513

 

 

 

99,193

 

89,466

Current assets

 

 

 

 

 

Trade and other receivables

10

 

349,111

 

299,089

Current tax receivable

 

 

17,206

 

15,652

Cash and cash equivalents

12

 

97,673

 

95,605

 

 

 

463,990

 

410,346

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total assets

3

 

563,183

 

499,812

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current liabilities

 

 

 

 

 

Trade and other payables

11

 

(204,353)

 

(187,730)

Current tax payable

 

 

(20,145)

 

(22,166)

 

 

 

(224,498)

 

(209,896)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net current assets

 

 

239,492

 

200,450

 

 

 

 

 

 

Non-current liabilities

 

 

 

 

 

Other payables

11

 

(19,474)

 

(19,489)

Deferred tax liabilities

 

 

(630)

 

(370)

 

 

 

(20,104)

 

(19,859)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total liabilities

3

 

(244,602)

 

(229,755)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net assets

 

 

318,581

 

270,057

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Capital and reserves

 

 

 

 

 

Called-up share capital

 

 

3,284

 

3,268

Share premium

 

 

98,502

 

92,677

Capital redemption reserve

 

 

932

 

932

Reserve for shares held in the employee benefit trust

 

 

(50,673)

 

(58,931)

Currency translation reserve

 

 

34,217

 

29,858

Retained earnings

 

 

232,319

 

202,253

Total equity

 

 

318,581

 

270,057

 

 

 

 

Consolidated Statement of Changes in Equity

For the year ended 31 December 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 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

Transfer from reserve for shares held in the employee benefit trust

-

 

-

 

-

 

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 and 1 January 2018

 

3,268

 

92,677

 

932

 

(58,931)

 

29,858

 

202,253

 

270,057

Currency translation differences

 

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

4,359

 

-

 

4,359

Net income recognised directly in equity

 

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

4,359

 

-

 

4,359

Loss on hedging instruments

 

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

(988)

 

(988)

Profit for the year ended 31 December 2018

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

103,703

 

103,703

Total comprehensive income for the year

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

4,359

 

102,715

 

107,074

Purchase of shares held in employee benefit trust

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

(11,567)

 

-

 

-

 

(11,567)

Exercise of share plans

 

 

16

 

5,825

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

21,072

 

26,913

Transfer from reserve for shares held in the employee benefit trust

-

 

-

 

-

 

19,825

 

-

 

(19,825)

 

-

Credit in respect of share schemes

 

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

7,048

 

7,048

Credit in respect of tax on share schemes

 

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

368

 

368

Dividends

 

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

(81,312)

 

(81,312)

 

 

 

16

 

5,825

 

-

 

8,258

 

-

 

(72,649)

 

(58,550)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balance at 31 December 2018

 

 

3,284

 

98,502

 

932

 

(50,673)

 

34,217

 

232,319

 

318,581

 

 

Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows                      

For the year ended 31 December 2018                           

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018

 

2017

 

 

 

Note

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

142,275

 

118,162

 

 

19,661

 

19,094

 

 

281

 

(159)

 

 

7,043

 

6,796

 

 

181

 

160

 

 

169,441

 

144,053

 

 

(49,278)

 

(42,629)

 

 

11,534

 

23,040

 

 

131,697

 

124,464

 

 

(41,001)

 

(38,154)

 

 

90,696

 

86,310

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(15,668)

 

(13,415)

 

 

(9,944)

 

(7,508)

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

1,204

 

4,688

 

 

631

 

229

 

 

(23,777)

 

(16,006)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(81,312)

 

(78,251)

 

 

(818)

 

(1,845)

 

 

26,913

 

12,686

 

 

(11,567)

 

-

 

 

(66,784)

 

(67,410)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

135

 

2,894

 

 

95,605

 

92,796

 

 

1,933

 

(85)

12

 

97,673

 

95,605

 

 

 

Notes to the consolidated preliminary results

For the year ended 31 December 2018

 

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 2018 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 2018 were approved by the directors on 5 March 2019. 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 24 May 2019 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 2018 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 2018 and 12 months to 31 December 2017 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 2017 have been filed with the Registrar of Companies and those for the 12 months to 31 December 2018 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 2018 and 12 months to 31 December 2017 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 2019.

 

New accounting standards, interpretations and amendments adopted by the Group

 

The accounting policies adopted in the preparation of the 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 2018.

 

During the year the Group completed the transition to "IFRS 15 - Revenue from Contracts with Customers" and IFRS 9 - Financial Instruments". No adjustment was required for the transition to either standard.

 

We are continuing with our review and implementation of "IFRS 16 - Leases". The potential impact on our accounts of this Standard is disclosed in our Annual Report and Accounts for the year ended 31 December 2018.

 

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. Segments are aggregated in accordance with management ownership, determined by the possession of similar characteristics such as geography, market maturity and economic environment. No judgements were applied to identify the reportable segments.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Revenue

 

Gross Profit

 

 

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

 

 

 

£'000

 

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

 

£'000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EMEA

 

 

797,427

 

 

675,983

 

394,337

 

 

332,288

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

United Kingdom

 

 

313,525

 

 

312,915

 

138,392

 

 

140,768

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asia Pacific

Australia and New Zealand

 

112,930

 

 

110,602

 

40,592

 

 

37,703

 

 

Asia

 

153,794

 

 

125,688

 

120,566

 

 

99,469

 

 

Total

 

266,724

 

 

236,290

 

161,158

 

 

137,172

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Americas

 

 

172,265

 

 

146,346

 

121,015

 

 

101,340

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1,549,941

 

 

1,371,534

 

814,902

 

 

711,568

 

 

 

 

 

Operating Profit

 

 

 

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

 

 

 

£'000

 

 

£'000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EMEA

 

 

85,586

 

 

69,674

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

United Kingdom

 

 

13,392

 

 

15,978

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asia Pacific

Australia and New Zealand

 

4,291

 

 

5,480

 

 

Asia

 

22,474

 

 

18,039

 

 

Total

 

26,765

 

 

23,519

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Americas

 

 

16,720

 

 

9,151

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operating profit

 

142,463

 

 

118,322

Financial expense

 

(188)

 

 

(160)

Profit before tax

 

142,275

 

 

118,162

                 

 

 

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 and liabilities by reportable segment

 

 

 

 

 

Total Assets

 

Total Liabilities

 

 

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

 

 

 

£'000

 

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

 

£'000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EMEA

 

 

246,687

 

 

219,024

 

131,948

 

 

109,100

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

United Kingdom

 

 

121,058

 

 

123,423

 

40,398

 

 

51,193

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asia Pacific

Australia and New Zealand

 

29,719

 

 

24,639

 

11,059

 

 

10,349

 

 

Asia

 

85,501

 

 

61,176

 

18,744

 

 

18,132

 

 

Total

 

115,220

 

 

85,815

 

29,803

 

 

28,481

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Americas

 

 

63,012

 

 

55,898

 

22,308

 

 

18,815

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Segment assets/liabilities

 

545,977

 

 

484,160

 

224,457

 

 

207,589

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Income tax

 

 

17,206

 

 

15,652

 

20,145

 

 

22,166

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

563,183

 

 

499,812

 

244,602

 

 

229,755

                           

 

 

 

 

 

Property, Plant & Equipment

 

Intangible Assets

 

 

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

 

 

 

£'000

 

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

 

£'000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EMEA

 

 

13,654

 

 

12,218

 

3,171

 

 

3,668

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

United Kingdom

 

 

6,254

 

 

6,894

 

29,554

 

 

30,116

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asia Pacific

Australia and New Zealand

 

1,557

 

 

1,174

 

274

 

 

2

 

 

Asia

 

5,604

 

 

3,397

 

207

 

 

31

 

 

Total

 

7,161

 

 

4,571

 

481

 

 

33

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Americas

 

 

8,495

 

 

6,475

 

190

 

 

341

 

 

 

 

35,564

 

 

30,158

 

33,396

 

 

34,158

 

 

The below analyses in notes (c) revenue and gross profit by discipline (being the professions of candidates placed) relates to the requirements of IFRS 15 to disclose disaggregated revenue streams.

 

 (c)  Revenue and gross profit by discipline

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenue

 

Gross Profit

 

 

 

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

 

 

 

 

£'000

 

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

 

£'000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accounting and Financial Services

 

 

609,131

 

 

559,480

 

282,653

 

 

261,062

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Legal, Technology, HR, Secretarial and Other

 

402,321

 

 

337,857

 

196,773

 

 

161,424

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Engineering, Property & Construction, Procurement & Supply Chain

345,654

 

 

290,830

 

194,562

 

 

158,714

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marketing, Sales and Retail

 

 

192,835

 

 

183,367

 

140,914

 

 

130,368

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1,549,941

 

 

1,371,534

 

814,902

 

 

711,568

 

 

 

 

 

The analysis in Notes (d) revenue and gross profit generated from permanent and temporary placements and (e) revenue and gross profit by strategic markets have been included as additional disclosure over and above the requirements of IFRS 8 "Operating Segments".

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Revenue

 

Gross Profit

 

 

 

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

 

 

 

£'000

 

 

£'000

 

£'000

 

 

£'000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Permanent

 

629,136

 

 

543,262

 

621,746

 

 

536,010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Temporary

 

920,805

 

 

828,272

 

193,156

 

 

175,558

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1,549,941

 

 

1,371,534

 

814,902

 

 

711,568

                           

 

(e)   Revenue and gross profit by strategic market

 

 

 

 

4.    Financial income / (expenses)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018

 

2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

£'000

 

£'000

Financial income

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bank interest receivable

 

 

 

 

 

631

 

229

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Financial expenses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bank interest payable

 

 

 

 

 

(598)

 

(241)

Interest on discounting of French construction participation tax

(221)

 

(148)

 

 

 

 

 

 

(819)

 

(389)

 

 

5.    Taxation

 

Tax on profit was £38.6m (2017: £35.1m). This represented an effective tax rate ("ETR") of 27.1% (2017: 29.7%). The ETR was higher in 2017 mainly because of the impact of US tax reform which reduced the federal corporate income tax rate, resulting in the write-down of the US deferred tax assets. The rate is higher than the effective UK rate for the calendar year of 19% (2017: 19.25%) principally due to the impact of higher tax rates in overseas countries and to a lesser extent disallowable expenditure.  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.

 

6.    Dividends

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018

2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

£'000

£'000

Amounts recognised as distributions to equity holders in the year:

 

 

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

27,433

25,857

Interim dividend for the year ended 31 December 2018 of 4.10p per ordinary share (2017: 3.90p)

13,117

12,287

Special dividend for the year ended 31 December 2018 of 12.73p per ordinary share (2017: 12.73p)

40,762

40,107

 

 

 

 

 

 

81,312

78,251

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amounts proposed as distributions to equity holders in the year:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proposed final dividend for the year ended 31 December 2018 of 9.00p per ordinary share (2017: 8.60p)

29,171

27,144

 

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 2017 was also not recognised as a liability in the prior year.

 

The proposed final dividend of 9.00p (2017: 8.60p) per ordinary share will be paid on 17 June 2019 to shareholders on the register at the close of business on 17 May 2019.

 

7.    Share-based payments

 

In accordance with IFRS 2 "Share-based Payment", a charge of £8.4m has been recognised for share options and other share-based payment arrangements (including social charges) (31 December 2017: £7.7m).

 

 

 

8.    Earnings per ordinary share

 

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

 

Earnings

2018

 

 

2017

 

 

 

 

 

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

103,703

 

 

83,080

 

 

 

 

 

Number of shares

 

 

 

 

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

318,877

 

 

313,491

Dilution effect of share plans ('000)

1,627

 

 

1,287

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

320,504

 

 

314,778

 

 

 

 

 

Basic earnings per share (pence)

32.5

 

 

26.5

Diluted earnings per share (pence)

32.4

 

 

26.4

 

The above results all relate to continuing operations.

 

9.    Property, plant and equipment

 

Acquisitions and Disposals

 

During the year ended 31 December 2018 the Group acquired property, plant and equipment with a cost of £15.7m (2017: £13.4m).

 

Property, plant and equipment with a carrying amount of £1.2m were disposed of during the year ended 31 December 2018 (2017: £3.9m), resulting in a loss on disposal of £0.2m (2017: profit of £0.2m).

 

10.   Trade and other receivables

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

£'000

 

 

£'000

Current

 

 

 

 

Trade receivables

297,380

 

 

253,555

Less allowance for expected credit losses and revenue reversals

(9,174)

 

 

(8,161)

Net trade receivables

288,206

 

 

245,394

Other receivables

3,814

 

 

9,839

Accrued income

44,430

 

 

31,938

Prepayments

12,661

 

 

11,918

 

349,111

 

 

299,089

Non-current

 

 

 

 

Other Receivables

12,746

 

 

10,513

 

11.   Trade and other payables

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

£'000

 

 

£'000

Current

 

 

 

 

Trade payables

6,594

 

 

6,240

Other tax and social security

58,186

 

 

54,615

Other payables

26,870

 

 

28,312

Accruals

111,040

 

 

97,467

Deferred income

1,663

 

 

1,096

 

204,353

 

 

187,730

Non-current

 

 

 

 

Accruals

18,453

 

 

18,628

Other tax and social security

1,021

 

 

861

 

19,474

 

 

19,489

 

 

 

 

12.   Cash and cash equivalents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

£'000

 

 

£'000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Cash at bank and in hand

 

 

 

 

 

 

97,626

 

 

95,327

 Short-term deposits

 

 

 

 

 

 

47

 

 

278

 Cash and cash equivalents

 

 

 

 

 

 

97,673

 

 

95,605

 Cash and cash equivalents in the statement of cash flows

 

 

 

 

 

97,673

 

 

95,605

 

The Group operates multi-currency cash concentration and notional cash pools, and an interest enhancement facility. The Eurozone subsidiaries and the UK-based Group Treasury subsidiary participate in the cash concentration arrangement, the Group Treasury subsidiary retains the notional cash pool and the Asia Pacific subsidiaries operate the interest enhancement facility. The structures facilitate interest compensation of cash whilst supporting working capital requirements.

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.

 

13.   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 24 May 2019 at 9.30am.

 

 

14.   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 will be available from the Company's website in April 2019.

 

http://www.pagegroup.co.uk/investors/reports-and-presentations/annual-and-interim-reports/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 2018. 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

 

 

5 March 2019

5 March 2019

 


This information is provided by RNS, the news service of the London Stock Exchange. RNS is approved by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a Primary Information Provider in the United Kingdom. Terms and conditions relating to the use and distribution of this information may apply. For further information, please contact rns@lseg.com or visit www.rns.com.
 
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Final Results Year Ended 31 December 2018 - RNS