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Hudson Global reports 2014 Q2 results

2014 Second Quarter Summary

?             Revenue of $167.4 million, down 2.3 percent from the second quarter of 2013, or 4.4 percent in constant currency.

?             Gross margin of $62.8 million, an increase of 3.8 percent from the second quarter of 2013, or 1.9 percent in constant currency. This quarter's gross margin was the highest dollar level achieved by the company since the fourth quarter of 2012.

?             Adjusted EBITDA* loss of $0.8 million, an improvement of 68.2 percent or 63.9 percent in constant currency, as compared with a loss of $2.5 million in the same period last year. Adjusted EBITDA included $1.3 million of charges related to the proxy contest and strategic actions.

?             Adjusted EBITDA* loss of $2.9 million in the first half of 2014, as compared with a loss of $7.4 million in the first half of 2013, an improvement of 61.3 percent or 59.2 percent in constant currency.

?             Restructuring charges of $1.1 million in the second quarter of 2014, as compared with $1.2 million in the second quarter of 2013.

?             Net loss of $4.4 million, or $0.13 per basic and diluted share, as compared with net loss of $5.8 million, or $0.18 per basic and diluted share in the same period last year.

* Adjusted EBITDA is defined in the segment tables at the end of this release.

Year-over-year gross margin growth in the company's core business lines and geographies was widespread, including 4 percent in Asia Pacific, 9 percent in Europe, and 50 percent in RPO in the Americas, all in constant currency. This growth more than offset the decline in our eDiscovery unit in the Americas.

"We delivered gross margin growth in our major markets and continued to make substantial improvements to our bottom line," said Manolo Marquez, chairman and chief executive officer at Hudson. "Our second quarter results are a clear indication that the changes we have put in place are translating to growth and improved financial performance, and will accelerate our path to sustained profitability."

Stephen Nolan, chief financial officer at Hudson said, "Our focus on disciplined execution, strategic investments, and business efficiencies have resulted in improved performance across most markets and practices."

Strategic Actions

As was previously announced, the company engaged Duff & Phelps to begin exploring opportunities to divest the Legal eDiscovery business, and focus on the company's core businesses that are expected to maximize stockholder value. On July 29, 2014, the company's management and board of directors approved the plan for divestiture of the Legal eDiscovery business, which is expected to be completed within 12 months.

In addition, the company engaged AlixPartners, LLP, a premier consulting firm in the areas of organization design and operational improvement, to assist management in a comprehensive assessment of the company's organization and operations. The engagement with AlixPartners was focused on identifying opportunities to better align the organization model to a more focused business after the divestiture of eDiscovery, to support future growth in core areas, and improve operating efficiencies and effectiveness. Based upon this work, management recommended and the board of directors approved on July 29, 2014 actions including the optimization of real estate and integration of support services and systems at the regional and corporate level. These initiatives are expected to result in a restructuring charge of up to $7 million which is expected to be taken over the next twelve months, depending on the timing of other strategic actions such as the sale of the company's eDiscovery business. The company expects an ongoing annualized return of 1.5 - 2.0x the charge.

Regional Highlights

Americas

Americas' gross margin decreased 24 percent in the second quarter as compared with the same period in 2013. RPO continued to deliver strong results with 50 percent gross margin growth in the second quarter, after becoming the largest practice in the Americas on a gross margin basis in the first quarter of 2014. This growth was offset by declines in Legal eDiscovery and IT of 45 percent and 19 percent, respectively. The quarterly decline in Gross Margin, combined with an unusually significant increase in medical costs, resulted in an adjusted EBITDA loss of $0.1 million for the second quarter, compared with adjusted EBITDA of $1.5 million, or 4.1 percent of revenue for the same quarter a year ago.

Asia Pacific

Asia Pacific's gross margin increased 4 percent in constant currency in the second quarter as compared with the same period in 2013. This was the second consecutive quarter of year-over-year gross margin growth, with all business lines contributing in both quarters. More specifically, growth in the region was driven by strength in talent management and permanent recruitment in China, and Australia. Gross margin increased 30 percent in China in the quarter against the prior year. And in Australia, gross margin increased 6 percent, outperforming the company's major competitors. Talent management delivered 19 percent growth in Asia Pacific, led by large assessment and career transition projects in Australia. A concerted effort to increase front office staff in its highest potential markets and practices in Asia Pacific resulted in a 28 percent increase in fee-earners in the quarter as compared to prior year. The company expects further growth and market share gains in the region as the productivity of these new fee-earners increases. Cost reductions in support areas and real estate, together with top-line growth generated adjusted EBITDA of $1.0 million, or 1.5 percent of revenue, as compared to $0.7 million, or 1.1 percent of revenue in the second quarter of 2013.

Europe

Europe's gross margin increased 9 percent in constant currency compared with the second quarter of 2013. Against prior year, the region experienced gross margin growth in most countries. Particularly strong growth occurred in permanent recruitment in the UK and Belgium, up 18 percent and 27 percent in constant currency, respectively. Talent management in Continental Europe also grew in the quarter driven by Belgium and France, with gross margin up 7 percent compared with the prior year.Europe delivered adjusted EBITDA of $3.2 million, or 4.2 percent of revenue, as compared with adjusted EBITDA of $0.1 million, or 0.1 percent of revenue for the quarter a year ago.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

The company ended the second quarter of 2014 with $51.9 million in liquidity, composed of $17.9 million in cash and $34.1 million in availability under its credit facilities. This included $13.1 million of availability from the RBS facility, which will expire onAugust 4, 2014 and which the company expects to replace with separate facilities for the US and UK prior to such expiration date. This compares with $22.1 million in cash and $35.8 million in availability under its credit facilities at the end of the first quarter of 2014, and $28.3 million in cash and $35.8 million in availability under its credit facilities at the end of the second quarter of 2013. The company used $4.6 million in cash flow from operations during the quarter, and had $2.2 million in outstanding borrowings at the end of the second quarter.

Business Outlook

Given current economic conditions, the company expects third quarter 2014 revenue of between $165 million and $175 millionand adjusted EBITDA of between negative $2 million and breakeven at prevailing exchange rates. In the third quarter of 2013, revenue was $163.6 million and adjusted EBITDA was a loss of $2.9 million.

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