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PageGroup plc

PageGroup plc A record year delivering the best ever gross profit performance in each five Large, High Potential Markets

PageGroup plc (LON:PAGE), 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:

o 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.”