- Difficult market conditions, particularly in the second half, resulted in a reduction in Group fees and profit
- Increase in cash generated by operations to £260.9 million, primarily due to unwind of working capital
- Strong balance sheet with net cash of £0.7 million (2008: net debt of £81.1 million)
- Dividend maintained at 5.80p
- Temporary placement net fees down 7%* and permanent placement net fees down 29%*
- Advantage taken of opportunities in resilient markets particularly in the public sector and Germany
- 24% reduction in cost base in June 2009 versus June 2008 following early and continued action taken to protect profits
- Selective development of the International business, now representing 51% of Group net fees
- Investing for the long term including key IT efficiency projects and corporate account development
* LFL is like-for-like growth, which represents organic growth of continuing activities at constant currency. There were the same number of trading days in 2009 and 2008.
Commenting on these results, Alistair Cox, Chief Executive of Hays, said:
"The recruitment markets in the past year have been the most challenging on record. However, Hays has performed creditably due to our scale, the strength of our market positions, our early action to address the cost base and our ability to redirect resources to more resilient sectors such as Education, Healthcare, Oil & Gas and Pharmaceutical. We are also continuing to gain market share across the world and are investing in new markets including India and Russia. In addition, we are very pleased to have signed a series of significant recruitment contracts with leading global companies drawing on the full range of our expertise.
Currently we are seeing initial signs of stability in the United Kingdom and Asia Pacific markets although no indications of recovery. The Continental European markets, which entered the downturn later than the other regions, are still experiencing deteriorating conditions. Whilst we anticipate that 2010 will be another tough year for our industry, we will continue to take advantage of the downturn to build market share and pursue our investment plans to strengthen our operations for the long term. We are managing the short term whilst investing for the long term.