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SThree alert service

RNS Number : 7567R
SThree plc
11 March 2016
 

11 March 2016

 

 

Q1 Trading Update

 

SThree plc ("SThree" or the "Group"), the international specialist staffing business, is today issuing a trading update covering the period from 1 December 2015 to date; financial information relates to the quarter ended 29 February 2016.

 

Highlights

 

·     Group gross profit ("GP") up 10%* YoY and ahead by 17%* excluding Energy

Continued strong growth across ICT (+20%* YoY) and Life Sciences (+18%* YoY)

Fastest growth in Continental Europe (+20%* YoY)

Continued strong performance in the USA (+14%* YoY, +36%* excluding Energy), with Austin and Minneapolis offices opened during the quarter. The USA now represents 18% of Group GP (Q1 2015: 17%)

Conditions in the Energy market remain challenging down 34%* YoY (Q4 2015: down 37% YoY)

·     Contract GP up 11%* YoY and ahead by 15%* excluding Energy

Robust seasonal recovery in Contract runners

Contract now accounts for two thirds of Group GP

·     Permanent GP up 9%* YoY, despite a decrease in period end consultant headcount of 8%. Permanent GP excluding Energy up 21%* YoY

·     Group period-end sales headcount is in line with the 2015 year-end position and up 8% YoY, driven by investment in Contract

 

 

Gary Elden, Chief Executive, commented:  "Overall, we've made an encouraging start to the year in what is our seasonally least significant quarter. Our investment in Contract and our drive to rebuild productivity in Permanent is continuing to have a positive impact on the Group result.  Performances from our ICT and Life Sciences businesses and across Continental Europe and the USA were particularly pleasing.

 

"Our Contract business continues to perform well, with Contract GP increasing by 11%* year on year, reflecting our ongoing investment in sales headcount and further growth in the Contract book.

 

"Our Permanent business benefited from a further improvement in productivity in the quarter, driven by a particularly strong performance in Continental Europe, which was up 25% YoY.  Further productivity gains will remain the priority for our Permanent business in 2016.

 

"Looking ahead, the expanded Contract book and improved Permanent performance give us a solid base from which to grow.  While the macro economic outlook has become increasingly uncertain, with signs of slowing growth in our UK Permanent business in particular, we remain confident that there are good growth opportunities for us this year across the diverse geographies and sectors that we serve."

 

 

Key Metrics & Commentary

Financial Highlights - Group Gross Profit

 

 

 

Q1 2016

 

Q4 2015

Q3 2015

Q2 2015

Q1 2015

Gross Profit

Q1 2016

Q1 2015

YoY % 1

 

YoY % 1

YoY % 1

YoY % 1

YoY % 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contract

£38.2m

£34.9m

+11%

 

+10%

+20%

+17%

+24%

Permanent

£19.8m

£18.6m

+9%

 

-3%

+1%

+4%

+6%

Group

£58.0m

£53.5m

+10%

 

+5%

+13%

+12%

+17%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UK&I

£16.0m

£15.9m

-

 

-6%

+5%

+9%

+13%

Continental Europe

£27.5m

£24.2m

+20%

 

+13%

+18%

+11%

+14%

USA

£10.7m

£9.0m

+14%

 

+12%

+31%

+31%

+38%

Asia Pac & Middle East

£3.8m

£4.4m

-13%

 

-13%

-15%

-7%

+16%

Group

£58.0m

£53.5m

+10%

 

+5%

+13%

+12%

+17%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ICT

£26.0m

£22.2m

+20%

 

+15%

+21%

+17%

+22%

Life Science

£11.5m

£9.7m

+18%

 

+16%

+21%

+24%

+15%

Energy

£4.8m

£7.3m

-34%

 

-37%

-25%

-18%

+14%

Other Sectors 3

£15.7m

£14.4m

+12%

 

+6%

+18%

+12%

+8%

Group

£58.0m

£53.5m

+10%

 

+5%

+13%

+12%

+17%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contract / Perm Split

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contract

66%

65%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Permanent

34%

35%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

100%

100%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Geographical Split

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UK&I

28%

30%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continental Europe

47%

45%

 

 

 

 

 

 

USA

18%

17%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asia Pac & Middle East

7%

8%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

100%

100%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sector Split

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ICT

45%

41%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life Science

20%

18%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Energy

8%

14%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Sectors 3

27%

27%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

100%

100%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q1 2016

 

Q4 2015

Q3 2015

Q2 2015

Q1 2015

Operating Metrics

Q1 2016

Q1 2015

YoY %

 

YoY %

YoY %

YoY %

YoY %

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contract Runners 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UK&I

2,795

2,893

-3%

 

-3%

-3%

+3%

+12%

Continental Europe

3,702

3,070

+21%

 

+24%

+29%

+29%

+27%

USA

1,241

1,049

+18%

 

+21%

+36%

+44%

+73%

Asia Pac & Middle East

422

397

+6%

 

-9%

+0%

+8%

+53%

Group

8,160

7,409

+10%

 

+11%

+15%

+19%

+27%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 At constant currency

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Period end number of contractors onsite with clients

 

3 Other Sectors include Banking & Finance and Engineering

 

 

Q1 Group gross profit ("GP") increased by 10%* YoY (Q4: +5%*). While the Group result continued to be impacted by the ongoing weak activity in the Energy market, all other sectors performed strongly with GP excluding Energy up 17%*. Headcount build YoY remained relatively low as we continued to right size our Energy business, with period end sales headcount up 8% YoY and broadly in line with year-end.

 

Contract continues to deliver a strong performance, with GP up 11%* YoY (and up 15%* excluding Energy). A large proportion of this growth was driven by Continental Europe up 17%* and the USA up 20%*.

 

Permanent GP was up 9%* YoY and up 21%* excluding Energy, with particularly strong growth in DACH and Benelux, up 31%* and 15%* respectively. However, we expect the Group Permanent growth rate to moderate in Q2. Consistent with our strategic focus, Permanent productivity per sales head was up 16%* YoY in Q1, with average heads down 6%.

 

Average Group sales heads were up 6% YoY. UK&I sales headcount was down 1% YoY, Continental Europe was up 8%, USA was up 32% and Asia Pacific & Middle East was down 19% re
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