Financial and operational highlights

For the year ended 31 December 2017

Financial Highlights

  • Total revenue increased 2.0% to £707.8 million (2016: £693.6 million) despite weaker markets for the majority of the second half of the year
  • Like-for-like revenue* growth in the UK and Continental Europe of 0.5% and 4.2% respectively (2016: UK 4.2%; Continental Europe 3.1%) represented a positive performance against a strong 2016 comparator
  • Gross margin improvement of 50 basis points to 31.1% (2016: 30.6%) achieved through a concerted focus on margin enhancement initiatives
  • Underlying** profit before tax increased by 7.5% to £43.1 million (2016: £40.1 million)
  • Profit before tax increased by 6.7% to £40.7 million (2016: £38.2 million)
  • Basic earnings per share increased by 6.3% to 39.1 pence (2016: 36.8 pence)
  • Total ordinary dividend in respect of 2017 increased by 10.0% to 24.80 pence (2016: 22.55 pence)
  • Strong operating cash generation at 109.8% of underlying** EBITDA (2016: 94.2%)

* Like-for-like revenue is calculated based on constant currency from activities and businesses that made a full contribution in both the 2017 and 2016 periods and is adjusted for any variances in working days

** Before non-underlying items being intangibles amortisation relating to businesses acquired, acquisitions fees and non-recurring costs relating to personnel changes

Operating Highlights

  • Considerable new expertise added to the Board, Senior Management Team and at managerial level, both in the UK and Continental Europe, including the appointment of Chris Payne as Chief Financial Officer
  • Three acquisitions completed during the year, most notably Domus Group of Companies Limited which meaningfully diversifies and broadens the Company’s overall position in the market
  • Efficiency actions and initiatives implemented, with a more unitised approach across the Company’s businesses
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