Hydrogen, the specialist professional recruitment business has announced its audited preliminary results for the twelve months ended 31st December 2008.
It has been widely reported that the uncertain macro-economic environment has resulted in more challenging trading conditions across the UK recruitment market during 2008 and some of Hydrogen's core markets, such as financial services, have inevitably been impacted by these exceptional circumstances. However, the Group has remained focused on strengthening and scaling its key brands wherever possible and whilst tight controls have been maintained during 2008 this has been balanced with selective investment in higher growth and international markets, where demand for high quality, specialist candidates remains robust.
Group revenue fell 7% to 96.2m (2007: 103.4m)
Profit before exceptional items of 3.7m (2007: 8.0m)
Solid performances delivered across IT, Legal and Engineering disciplines despite challenging trading environment
Streamlining of brand portfolio to strengthen client offer in core markets and drive efficiencies
Contract NFI grew 4% to 11.9m (2007: 11.4m) and now represents 45% of NFI (2007: 36%)
NFI from International businesses up to 14% (2007: 6%)
390 new clients won during the period
Continued focus on cost reduction and debtor management with trade debtors reduced by 21.3% and days of sales outstanding reduced to 40 days (2007: 43 days)
Commenting on the results, Ian Temple, Executive Chairman of Hydrogen, said: In line with our expectations of deteriorating market conditions in the second half of 2008, we took swift action to reduce the cost base and focused on cash management. We are particularly pleased to have exceeded our cash generation targets.
We have continued to focus on our core markets and strengths, whilst introducing additional revenue streams within Europe and Internationally.
As a result of the business efficiencies achieved in 2008, I am pleased with the profitable start in line with expectations for 2009, despite the ongoing challenging conditions. We anticipate 2009 will be a difficult year and will continue to manage the business in line with the economic backdrop, whilst making prudent investment decisions to enter growth markets of the future, using our proven incubator model.