Pandemic punishes profits at Hays, Kelly and RTC
By Dawn Gibson
Major recruiters continue to report big profit slumps as permanent placement activity remains low across world markets.
The latest profit results for Hays, Kelly and RTC show that tough operating conditions relentlessly pounded profits through to the tail end of 2020, although there are signs trading activity is bouncing back in early 2021.
The Hays Group reported a 75% dive in operating profit to £25.1 million (2019: £100.1 million) on the back of a 24% decline in net fees in its half year report for the six months ended December 31.
In the UK and Ireland, the group recorded a £1 million operating loss, with temp fees down 21%, improving through the half, and perm declining by 35%.
In Australia and New Zealand, operating profit was down 42% on the back of a 34% drop in perm fees and a 18% drop in temp fees, while in Germany profit was down 76%, with perm down 34% and temp down 45%.
Trading in all major markets improved through the half, however, showing promise of a better 2021.
“With recovery in fees and our profits accelerating in Q2, this provides us with confidence to resume paying core dividends at our full-year results in August,” said Hays Chief Executive Alistair Cox. “We have also identified £150 million of surplus capital, which we also intend to return to shareholders in phases via special dividends, again commencing at our results in August."
Kelly Services reported an operating loss for the full year of 2020 of $93.6 million, compared to earnings of $81.8 million reported for 2019. On an adjusted basis, earnings from operations were $44.3 million compared to $90.8 million in 2019.
The group reported Q4 operating earnings of $9.5 million, or earnings of $13.9 million as adjusted, compared to earnings of $28.8 million in the corresponding quarter of 2019 as adjusted. Q4 revenue was down 7.2% year-over-year as the continuing effects of the pandemic impacted customer demand.
President and CEO Peter Quigley pointed to sequential quarter-over-quarter revenue improvement in Q4 as a sign of gradually improving economic conditions. “We’re optimistic that we’ll benefit from a recovery that gains momentum throughout 2021, with pipelines for both organic and inorganic growth strengthening,” he said.
For the year ended December 2020, RTC reported a 14% drop in group revenue to £81.4 million, down from £94.9 million for 2019, and a 45% slump in profits from operations to £1.1 million, down from £2 million in 2019.
However, net cash inflow from operating activities rose 76% to £5.1 million and net cash increased to £1.9 million, up from net debt of £2.8 million in 2019. No final dividend is proposed.
Commenting on the results, CEO Andy Pendlebury pointed to the impact of the pandemic as the story behind the numbers. “Given the seismic impact of the closure of large parts of our economy, I believe our results are extremely respectable and our cash position significantly enhanced,” he added.
Staffing 360 Solutions
Staffing 360 had some positive news with its preliminary fourth quarter results for the year ended December 2020. The company predicted unaudited Q4 revenue of $53.8 million, an increase of 11%, over Q3, citing rises in gross profit and demand.
The company has raised approximately $19.7 million (approx. $18 million net) in a public offering of 21,855,280 shares of its common stock at $0.90 per share. Since June 2020, Staffing 360 has reduced $55 million of debt to $26.8 million, a reduction of $28.3 million, or 55%.
“Completing this raise of $19.7 million gross proceeds is the latest step forward toward improving our balance sheet, setting the stage for further growth and progress in 2021,” said CEO and President Brendan Flood.
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