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Hays Resilient Performance In Fragile Markets

Hays Resilient Performance In Fragile Markets

Hays plc has announced its preliminary results for the year ended 30th June 2013.

Year ended 30 June
(In &pound's million)

2013

2012

Actual
growth

LFL(1)
growth

Net fees

719.0

734.0

(2)%

(1)%

Operating profit

125.5

128.1

(2)%

(1)%

Cash generated by operations(2)

136.3

162.2

(16)%

Profit before tax

118.5

122.4

(3)%

Basic earnings per share(3)

5.14p

5.47p

(6)%

Dividend per share

2.50p

2.50p

0%

All numbers are from continuing operations only.

Highlights

&middot      Resilient operating profit performance due to firm cost control and selective investment approach

-  Second half operating profit 8% higher than the first half

&middot      UK & Ireland returned to profit market stable

-   &pound12.1 million improvement in operating profit due to successful delivery of cost reduction programme

-   UK returned to year-on-year net fee growth in the second half

&middot      Strong 10%(1) net fee growth in Continental Europe & Rest of World where markets remained mixed

-   Germany up 13%(1), France up 1%(1), Canada up 31%(1) and Russia up 40%(1)

-   13 countries delivered net fee growth of over 10%, 7 countries saw a decline in net fees

&middot      Asia Pacific net fees decreased 13%(1) Australia tough, market conditions in Asia subdued

-   Australia down 16%(1), with material step down in Resources & Mining activity during the year

-   Australia broadly sequentially stable in the second half

-   Asia up 4%(1) with improved rates of fee growth through the second half

&middot      Consultant headcount flat year-on-year reflecting our selective investment approach

&middot      Good cash performance, with 109% conversion of operating profit into operating cash flow(2)

&middot      Basic EPS down 6%(3), reflecting lower operating profit, higher net finance charge and higher effective tax rate

Commenting on these results Alistair Cox, Chief Executive, said: "We have delivered a resilient financial performance against a backdrop of fragile market conditions. This highlights the strength of our diverse business model and our ability to react quickly to fast-changing markets. Our unrivalled sector coverage, mix of contract type and market-leading positions in both mature and structural growth markets set us apart in today's market.

Our focus on controlling costs and driving productivity improvements has returned the UK business to profit. We have invested to drive growth in stronger markets such as Germany and Canada, and we have reacted quickly to reduce costs in more challenging areas, such as Australia, to best defend our financial performance.

Looking ahead to 2014 we expect overall market conditions to remain mixed. While some markets are likely to remain challenging, there are also clear opportunities for growth. We will continue to react quickly to changing market conditions, investing in stronger markets while reducing costs where market conditions or outlook are more challenging. Our focus remains on ensuring the Group is positioned for long-term growth whilst driving our profits along the way."

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