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SThree plc (STHR)

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Wednesday 08 June, 2011

SThree plc

Trading Statement

RNS Number : 0315I
SThree plc
08 June 2011

Trading Update


SThree plc ("SThree" or the "Group"), the international specialist staffing business, today issues a trading update for the six month period ended 29 May 2011, being the first half of the financial year ending 27 November 2011.




·        All regions continuing to show improving performance

·        Permanent gross profit up 34%* year on year

·        Contract gross profit up 15%* year on year

·        Group gross profit up 23%* year on year

·        Improvement in both permanent and contract fees

·        Sales headcount growth of 14% year on year

·        New offices opened in Sao Paulo, Doha and Antwerp

·        Strong financial position with net cash of circa £47m at period end


Group gross profit achieved in the period increased by 23%* year on year to circa £90m (2010: £74.3m). UK gross profit increased by 9% and non-UK gross profit increased by 34%*. Non-UK now represents 63% of gross profit (2010 full year: 60%). Permanent gross profit increased by 34%* and Contract gross profit increased by 15%*. In the period, Permanent represented 50% of gross profit (2010 full year: 49%).


During the period SThree made a total of 3,450** permanent placements, an increase of 21% over the prior year (2010: 2,842**), with an accompanying increase in the Group average placement fee. At the end of the period SThree had 4,381 active contractors, an increase of 11% year on year (2010: 3,952) and an increase of 1% on the seasonal peak associated with the financial year end (28 November 2010: 4,359). Average contractor gross profit per day rates have also improved. 


During the period, UK permanent placements were up 6%** year on year, with improved fees. UK contract runners were up 5% year on year and UK gross profit per day rates remained strong.  


During the period, non-UK permanent placements increased by 31%** year on year and average fees remained robust. At the end of the period non-UK contract runners increased by 18% year on year, with gross profit per day rates also improving.


The permanent deal pipeline currently indicates that the number of permanent deals agreed, with candidates due to start, is up by more than 20% year on year.


Group sales headcount at 29 May 2011 was up 12% versus the year end and up 14% year on year. UK sales headcount was up 7% versus the year end position and up 10% year on year; non-UK sales headcount was up 15% versus the year end position and up 17% year on year. The Group was actively seeking to fill an additional 190 live sales vacancies at the end of the period.


The Group had 55 offices at the end of the period, having opened new offices in Sao Paulo, Doha and Antwerp during the first half of 2011 and has plans to open offices in Zurich, Luxembourg, and Chicago in the second half.


The Group remains in a strong cash position with net cash of circa £47m at 29 May 2011 (2010 year end: £55.2m).


Russell Clements, Chief Executive, commented: "The Group continued to make further progress during the first half, with Q2 gross profit up 27%* year on year, ahead of Q1 gross profit up 19%* year on year, despite progressively tougher comparatives. It is particularly pleasing to note that once again we have been able to grow both sales volumes and fee rates in line with our long term strategy.


"We continued to roll out new international offices during the period and plan to expand our global presence further through adding new locations during the second half of this year and beyond. In parallel we have also further expanded our teams in geographies in which we already have a well established market presence, in line with the improving market opportunity. Despite making these and other investments in the Group's future growth, our balance sheet remains strong, having finished the period with £47m of cash and no debt."


* at constant currency

** excludes retained business



SThree is hosting an analyst conference call today at 0830 BST. The details are as follows:


Telephone number:  + 44 (0) 20 8817 9301     

For access to the call please quote Confirmation Code: 4967466

The Group will issue its interim results for the six months ended 29 May 2011 on 18 July 2011.



- Ends -




SThree plc

020 7268 6000

Russell Clements, Chief Executive Officer


Alex Smith, Chief Financial Officer


Sarah Anderson, Deputy Company Secretary/IR enquiries


Citigate Dewe Rogerson

020 7638 9571

Kevin Smith/Nicola Swift



Notes to editors


SThree is a leading international specialist staffing businesses, providing permanent and contract specialist staff to a diverse client base of over 7,000 clients. From its well-established position as a major player in the information and communications technology ("ICT") sector the Group has broadened the sectors it covers to include banking, engineering, energy & resources, pharmaceuticals, accountancy & finance and job board sectors.


Since launching its original business, Computer Futures, in 1986, the Group has adopted a multi-brand strategy, establishing new operations to address growth opportunities. SThree brands include Computer Futures, Huxley Associates, Progressive and The Real Staffing Group. The Group has circa 2,000 employees in fourteen countries.


SThree plc is quoted on the Official List of the UK Listing Authority under the ticker symbol STHR and also has a US level one ADR facility, symbol SERTY.


Important notice


Certain statements in this announcement are forward looking statements. By their nature, forward looking statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties or assumptions that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by those statements. Forward looking statements regarding past trends or activities should not be taken as representation that such trends or activities will continue in the future. Accordingly, undue reliance should not be placed on forward looking statements.



This information is provided by RNS
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