PageGroup plc (LON: PAGE), the specialist professional recruitment company, announced today its unaudited half year results for the period ended 30 June 2019.
|(6 months to 30 June 2019)||CC*|
|Profit before tax||£74.6m||£67.2m||10.90%|
|Basic earnings per share||16.8p||15.5p||8.40%|
|Diluted earnings per share||16.8p||15.4p||9.10%|
|Interim dividend per share||4.30p||4.10p||4.90%|
|Special dividend per share||12.73p||12.73p|
· Group operating profit increased +11.4%* to £75.6m, +12.5% in reported rates
· Increase in fee earner productivity of 2.2%**
· Conversion rate*** increased to 17.4% (H1 2018: 17.0%)
· Reduction of 81 (-1.3%) fee earners in H1 2019
· Strong Balance Sheet with net cash of £81.7m (H1 2018: £87.0m)
· Interim dividend up 4.9% to 4.30 pence per share, totalling £13.9m
· Special dividend of 12.73 pence per share, totalling £41.0m
- in constant currency at prior year rates
** gross profit per fee earner
*** operating profit as a percentage of gross profit
Commenting, Kelvin Stagg, PageGroup plc Chief Financial Officer, said:
“PageGroup delivered an increase of 9.5%* in gross profit and 11.4%* in operating profit in the first half of 2019, with fee earner productivity increasing 2.2% and the Group’s conversion rate rising from 17.0% to 17.4%. This reflects our continued focus on productivity and conversion.
“Fee earner headcount fell by 81 (-1.3%) in the first half, to 6,035, mainly in markets where conditions were more challenging, such as Greater China and the UK. We continued to invest in markets where we saw the greatest growth, such as the US and India. We completed the implementation of our new Global Finance System, with roll-outs in Latin America and Europe during the first half. Our operational support staff headcount increased by 72 (4.3%), the majority of which were temporary, to support these roll-outs.
“We are announcing today an interim dividend of 4.30 pence per share, an increase of 4.9% over last year. In addition, in line with our policy of returning surplus capital to shareholders, we are also pleased to announce a special dividend of 12.73 pence per share (2018: 12.73 pence per share) totalling £41.0m, a fifth consecutive year of special dividends. Taking both dividend payments together, this amounts to a cash return to shareholders of £54.9m, payable on 9 October. Together with the 2018 final dividend paid in June of £29.0m, this represents a total of £83.9m returned to shareholders in 2019, or 26.03 pence per share.
“We are pleased with our first half performance, however we remain mindful of challenging macro-economic conditions seen in a number of our regions. 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.”