Revenue improves but earnings slide in first half at FDM Group
FDM Group reported a 5% improvement in revenue in its first half on Wednesday, to £140.5m, although its adjusted operating profit slid 24% to £20.5m.
The FTSE 250 technology consulting firm said basic earnings per share for the six months ended 30 June were down 16% at 14.8p, while adjusted basic earnings per share were 25% lower at 14.1p.
Cash flow from operations was 45% higher year-on-year at £30.8m, and the company’s cash conversion rate was 70% higher at 143.3%.
The board reported a net cash position at period end of £58.3m, up 103%, and declared an interim dividend 16% higher than last year at 18.5p.
FDM said the Covid-19 pandemic had impacted it to differing degrees of significance, longevity and economic effect in each of its territories, although its business model did enable it to respond “rapidly and effectively” to the changing conditions, including the move to remote recruitment and training.
It said ‘Mounties’ - its moniker for its consultants - assigned to client sites at week 263 were down 5% from a year prior at 3,656, and down 329 in total since mid-March.
The Mountie utilisation rate for the six months was 95%, down from 96.1%.
FDM said it had not accessed the UK Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, nor taken any funding from the UK government.
A total of 28 new clients were secured globally in the period, down from 40 year-on-year, of which eight were secured in the second quarter.
The board also noted that the company’s “long-running” North American legal claim was settled through mediation during the period.
It reported a “strong” balance sheet, with £58.3m in cash at period end, up from the £28.7m it reported a year earlier.
“The group has returned a resilient performance in the first half of the year given the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic and, since its first-quarter update to the market in April, has traded comfortably in line with the Board's revised expectations,” said chief executive officer Rod Flavell.
“Uncertainties over the impact of Covid-19 remain, but FDM's agile and robust business model has allowed us to respond rapidly and effectively to changes in market conditions during the first half, and will allow us to take advantage of opportunities as conditions normalise.”
At 0915 BST, shares in FDM Group were up 2.02% at 959p.