25 July 2019

Half-yearly financial results for the six months ended 30 June 2019

Record first half performance, profits in line with expectations

Corner of high-rise building

Robert Walters plc, the leading international recruitment group, today announces its half-yearly financial results for the six months ended 30 June 2019.

“The Group produced a solid first half performance, increasing operating profit by 6%** (4%*) to a first half record of £21.9m** (£21.5m*) despite political and economic uncertainty in some of the Group’s markets. We are particularly encouraged by double digit net fee income growth in Japan and France, the Group’s two largest markets.

“Our ability to produce this profitable growth is testament to the diversity the Group now has internationally, with a footprint spanning 31 countries, as well as the breadth of our offering to clients and candidates covering permanent, contract and interim recruitment and recruitment process outsourcing.

“Trading remains in line with market expectations for the full year and the Group is well positioned to continue to maximise market opportunities as they arise.”

Robert Walters, Chief Executive

Financial and operational highlights

  H1 2019 H1 2018 % change  % change (constant currency*)
Revenue £634.5m £625.9m 1% 1%
Gross profit (net fee income) £204.9m £188.6m 9% 7%
Operating profit £21.9m** £20.7m 6%** 4%
Profit before taxation £21.7m** £20.6m 5%** 4%
Basic earnings per share 22.5p** 21.2p 6%** n/a
Interim dividend per share 4.5p 4.0p 13% n/a

* Constant currency is calculated by applying prior period exchange rates to local currency results for the current and prior periods.
** Adjusted figures exclude the impact of IFRS 16 lease adjustments which only impact 2019 and respectively the statutory figures are £22.5m and £20.9m with the specific adjustments disclosed in note 12 on page six of the full 2019 Half Year Statement

  • Solid first half performance with operating profit increasing 6%** (4%*) to a half-year record of £21.9m** (£21.5m*) (2018: £20.7m) despite uncertainty in a number of the Group’s markets.
  • 74% of the Group’s net fee income derived from our international businesses (2018: 72%).
  • Continued investment in growing the Group’s international footprint. Launched in Mexico, a new country; and opened four new offices (Cologne, Nantes, Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard and Utrecht) in existing countries.
  • Asia Pacific net fee income up 10% (8%*) to £80.5m (£78.7m*) (2018: £73.1m) and operating profit up 6%** (2%*) to £9.8m** (£9.4m*) (2018: £9.2m).
    • Good growth across Japan and Korea where we have a market-leading position and bilingual candidate shortages prevail. Hong Kong significantly impacted by political unrest.
    • Emerging market footprint across South East Asia continues to provide a strong platform for long-term growth.
    • Single digit* growth in net fee income across Australia with Melbourne and Sydney performing well. 
  • Europe net fee income up 10% (11%*) to £54.0m (£54.3m*) (2018: £48.9m) and operating profit up 5%** (6%*) to £7.5m** (£7.6m*) (2018: £7.1m).
    • Good performance across the region underpinned by the blend of permanent, contract and interim revenue streams.
    • Strong bounce-back in France, the region’s largest business following the impact of the gilet jaunes protests during the first quarter.
    • Benelux, Germany and Spain all performing well; delivering increases in both net fee income and operating profit.
  • UK net fee income up 1% to £52.9m (2018: £52.6m) producing an operating profit of £4.1m** (2018: £4.2m).
    • Robust performance against a backdrop of political turmoil which impacted both candidate and client confidence as the period progressed.
    • Growth strongest in the UK regions. In London, pockets of strong demand existed in both financial services and technology.
  • Other International (the Americas, Middle East and South Africa) net fee income up 25% (20%*) to £17.5m (£16.7m*) (2018: £14.0m) producing 172%** (146%*) increase in operating profit to £0.5m** (£0.4m*) (2018: £0.2m).
    • Growth strongest across North America and the Middle East.
    • Fledgling business in Chile has started well and is already profitable.
  • 2.5m shares purchased through the Group’s Employee Benefit Trust at an average price of £5.99 for £15.0m.
  • Group headcount increased by 8% to 4,323 (30 June 2018: 3,996).
  • Strong balance sheet with net cash of £54.4m as at 30 June 2019 (30 June 2018: £24.8m).

The Company will publish a trading update for the third quarter ending 30 September 2019 on 9 October 2019.



For investor information visit our websitehttp://investors.robertwalters.com/

Further information

Robert Walters plc                         +44 20 7379 3333

Robert Walters, Chief Executive
Alan Bannatyne, Chief Financial Officer

Portland Communications            +44 (0) 20 7554 1840

Steffan Williams
Simon Hamer
Lauren Gallagher

Forward looking statements

This announcement contains certain forward-looking statements. These statements are made by the directors in good faith based on the information available to them at the time of their approval of this announcement and such statements should be treated with caution due to the inherent uncertainties, including both economic and business risk factors, underlying any such forward-looking information.