PageGroup gross profit up 6.5%
(6 months to 30 June 2015)
Profit before tax
Basic earnings per share
Diluted earnings per share
Interim dividend per share
Special dividend per share
Commenting, Steve Ingham, chief executive officer, said, "For the fourth successive quarter we delivered double-digit gross profit growth in constant currencies and have continued to see improvement in all our regions. Our five high-potential markets of Germany, Greater China, South East Asia, the US and Latin America, despite the challenges in Brazil, are performing at a record level and now represent 30% of Group gross profit.
"Movements in foreign exchange rates, particularly the Euro, continue to impact our results negatively. This affected our year to date results adversely by £11m of gross profit and £2m of operating profit. At June closing rates, this implies a full year impact of £28m of gross profit and £6m of operating profit.
"The Group's conversion rate rose from 13.5% to 14.3% year-on-year. This reflected our ongoing focus on conversion as well as benefits from improving market conditions. There were a number of specific items in the period which reduced operating profit. Excluding these, the conversion rate would have been 15.2%.
"As at 30 June 2015, the Group held net cash of c.£100m, a position the Board believes contains surplus capital of £50m. As a result the Board is announcing today a supplementary return which, following consultation with shareholders, will be by way of a special dividend of 16 pence per share. The Board is also announcing an interim dividend of 3.6 pence per share, an increase of 5.3% over last year. In total, this amounts to a cash return of £61.3m payable in the second half of 2015.
"We are pleased with the first half performance and the outlook is positive for all our regions in the second half. We remain focused on continuing our investment in the future of the Group while at the same time, improving our productivity and conversion rate. Aside from the impact of foreign exchange, the Board's expectations for the full year remain unchanged."