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Improved result in weak market; continued revenue growth of USG Professionals

Improved result in weak market continued revenue growth of USG Professionals

USG People has announced its Second-quarter 2012 results

Revenue amounted to &euro 720.2 million (Q2 2011: &euro 811.1 million) revenue per working day was down 9% compared to the year-earlier period

The gross margin was 21.0% (Q2 2011: 21.1%)

Operating expenses were 12% lower than a year earlier and continued to drop compared to the previous quarter, down 1%

EBITA totalled &euro 20.1 million EBITA margin: 2.8% (Q2 2011: &euro 21.4 million EBITA margin: 2.6%)

Reported net income improved considerably, rising to &euro 6.3 million (Q2 2011: -&euro 22.2 million)

Earnings per share rose to &euro 0.08 (Q2 2011: -&euro 0.29)

"We have kept the profitability of our activities at a good level," said Rob Zandbergen, CEO of USG People. “Macro-economic uncertainty persisted in the second quarter, putting a brake on growth in the European market. As a result demand for our services remained weak, particularly in the staffing segments, and group revenue came in below the year-earlier level. Despite this we were able to improve our EBITA margin thanks to a disciplined pricing policy and timely adjustment of our operating expenses. Efficiency improvements in our organisation and selective investment in high-yielding activities continue to be effective in the current market. Revenue per working day at our Professionals activities rose by 10 per cent. The position of USG Professionals was strengthened by the addition of the Control Finance activities in the Netherlands and organic growth continued apace in the second quarter.”


USG People achieved revenue of &euro 720.2 million in the second quarter, down from &euro 811.1 million in the same period in 2011. The second quarter had an exceptionally low number of working days (Q1: 64.7 working days, Q2: 60.7 working days, Q3: 64.3 working days). Based on the same number of working days revenue was down 9% year-on-year in the second quarter. Acquisitions contributed 0.6% to revenue. The decline in revenue per working day lessened slightly compared to the drop in the first quarter (Q1: -10%, Q2: -9%).

Gross margin

The gross result totalled &euro 151.6 million in the second quarter (Q2 2011: &euro 171.5 million). As a percentage of revenue the gross margin was 21.0% (Q2 2011: 21.1%). The lower number of working days in the second quarter had a negative effect of 0.2% on the gross margin compared to a year earlier. In addition revenue from recruitment and selection was lower in the second quarter, resulting in a 0.1% drop in the gross margin. Revenue from recruitment and selection accounted for 1.1% of group revenue in the second quarter. Based on the same number of working days the gross margin was up 0.1% compared to the second quarter last year.

Operating expenses excluding depreciation and amortisation of acquisition-related intangible assets

Operating expenses were reduced further in the second quarter and were down 12% year-on-year to &euro 126.5 million (underlying expenses Q2 2011: &euro 143.0 million). Strict cost control was applied, allowing for a further reduction in expenses given that markets failed to recover in the second quarter. The number of FTEs was scaled back by another 96 to 6,226, mainly by means of attrition. Staffing, IT and accommodation expenses were lower. Marketing expenses were raised compared to the previous quarter due to our sharpened commercial focus.


EBITA amounted to &euro 20.1 million, down 6% compared to underlying EBITA of &euro 21.4 million in the second quarter of 2011. The EBITA margin improved to 2.8% in the second quarter from 2.6% in the same quarter last year.

Amortisation of acquisition-related intangible assets

Amortisation amounted to &euro 4.2 million in the second quarter, a drop of &euro 0.8 million from &euro 5.0 million a year earlier. Amortisation concerns brand rights, client portfolios and candidate databases valued at the time of acquisition.

Financing expenses

Underlying financing expenses totalled &euro 5.1 million in the second quarter compared to &euro 5.5 million in the same period last year. An unrealised value adjustment of interest-rate derivatives was also recognised, equalling a positive &euro 1.7 million (Q2 2011: positive &euro 0.3 million). Reported financing expenses including unrealised value adjustments amounted to &euro 3.4 million compared to &euro 5.2 million in the same period last year.


The tax burden was &euro 6.3 million in the second quarter compared to a tax revenue of &euro 4.3 million a year earlier. The tax rate on profit before amortisation, and excluding the value-added tax classified as income tax in France and Italy (&euro 2.1 million), was 31.5%.


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