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AWF builds for the future as Madison acquisition delivers

Revenue for the year to 31 March 2014 rose 14% to $148.69m up from $130.48m in 2013. However, net profit for the year was $3.95m, down 43% on the previous year’s record $6.92m as AWF invested in staff to prepare for its next phase of growth. The prior year’s result benefited from a $2.24m gain on the sale of its subsidiary Panacea Healthcare.

Underlying Earnings, which adjusts for items of amortisation and the profit on the disposal of the subsidiary, fell 14% to $4.65m, from $5.42m in the prior year. Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA, reached $8.39m in 2014 against $8.34m recorded for 2013.

AWF Group Chairman Ross Keenan said: “The 2014 financial year presented challenges of tough competition and tight labour markets at a level we have not seen for some years.

Additionally, our growth over the past 3 or 4 years has required us to strengthen our internal capability to lift customer service levels commensurate with our market leading position. This investment in the Group’s future will ensure we remain well positioned to continue to deliver the service levels that differentiate us from the competition.

In the AWF Board’s opinion underlying earnings, more clearly reflects the operating performance of the Group. And on this measure, the AWF Group, including Madison Recruitment, has turned in a creditable performance especially in light of the ongoing investment we are making for the future.

Reflecting this performance in underlying earnings, the Board has declared a fully-imputed final dividend of 7.6 cents per share, taking total dividends for the 2014 financial year to 14 cents per share.” In 2013 AWF paid dividends totalling 15.6 cents per share, excluding a 3 cents per share special dividend. The final dividend will be paid on 27 June 2014 to shareholders registered as at 20 June 2014.

AWF Group Chief Executive Mike Huddleston said: “Availability of both skilled and semi-skilled temporary staff, particularly in Auckland and Christchurch has certainly tightened and is expected to do the same in the Wellington region.

However we are well advanced in our country-wide recruitment initiatives and our training, development and immigration programmes. We are confident these steps will deliver a strong pipeline of talent to draw upon to meet the markets’ demands.

I am pleased to also report Madison has performed well and in line with our high expectations. The AWF Group is winning significant new business as a direct result of the combined AWF and Madison business proposition. The new opportunities Madison is providing in the permanent recruitment sector have countered the challenges of the tight labour supply and the business should provide balance for the AWF Group in the future."

Mr Huddleston said at this early stage of the 2015 year the Group was performing well and to plan.

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