PresseBox
Pressemitteilung BoxID: 330625 (Sopra Steria GmbH)
  • Sopra Steria GmbH
  • Hans-Henny-Jahnn-Weg 29
  • 22085 Hamburg
  • http://www.soprasteria.de/
  • Ansprechpartner
  • Olivier Psaume
  • +33 (1) 34885560

Results show good resilience

Strong cash generation / 2009 annual results1

(PresseBox) (Hamburg, ) .
- Revenue decline limited to -3.1% on a likeforlike basis.
- Good resilience of the operating margin2 at 7.3%, a contraction of only 0.4 of a percentage point relative to the 2008 operating margin.
- Solid attributable net profit of €48.2 million, increasing to 3.0% of revenue versus 2.9% in 2008.
- Strong cash generation enabling a €48.3 million reduction in net financial debt.

The Supervisory Board of Groupe Steria SCA examined the consolidated financial statements submitted by the General Management.

Annual results 2009

In 2009, within a challenging economic environment, Steria's revenue and earnings showed a good level of resilience, reflecting the solidity of the Group's positioning.

This resilience needs to be seen alongside the major investments made by Groupe Steria in 2009 in the industrialisation of its business lines, the harmonisation of its tools and on the offer strategy in order to increase its competitiveness and reinforce its organic growth potential.

The operating margin for the 2009 financial year amounted to 7.3%, significantly above the guidance given during the 2009 second half thanks to a good fourth quarter performance. The modest decline in the operating margin (0.4 of a percentage point versus 2008) was the result of numerous programmes to optimise costs and improve productivity.

In the United Kingdom, the operating margin1 was maintained at a high level of 11.3% (11.4% in 2008), reflecting the successful integration of Xansa, the cost synergies generated and the efficiency of the offshore model.

In France, the operating margin1 remained virtually stable over the year at 6.4%, due to a significant improvement during the 2009 second half relative to the 2008 second half (+0.6 of a percentage point to 6.3%). This trend, together with the improved commercial performance at the end of 2009, are tangible and encouraging signs of a new dynamic in France.

In Germany, the recovery in activity during the second half, when revenue grew by +2.5% relative to the 2008 second half, enabled the decline in the operating margin1 to be limited to 2.2 percentage points for the year (7.1% versus 9.3% in 2008). This needs to be seen within the context of a marked decline in the consultancy market during 2009 and thus constitutes a strong performance.

In the Other Europe zone, despite a difficult situation in Spain, revenue increased by +2.5% on a likeforlike basis and the operating margin1 improved by 0.4 of a percentage point thanks to Scandinavia and Benelux/Switzerland whose operating margins1 are now similar to that of the Group.

Net integration and restructuring expenses for the 2009 financial year, which amounted to €20.2 million, remained limited to 1.2% of annual revenue.

The financial result of €-20.5 million includes a marked reduction in the net cost of financial debt (€-14 million versus €-20.1 million).

Lastly, attributable net profit for the 2009 financial year showed good resilience. At €48.2 million it was only slightly down on the net profit for the previous financial year (€51.6 million) and reached 3.0% of the Group's revenue compared with 2.9% in 2008.

It should be noted that the net profit includes a number of nonrecurring items: the writeoff of the remaining goodwill in Spain amounting to €7.6 million, a €5.7 million provision for a contract dispute which is nonrecurring in nature, a gain of €14.6 million corresponding to the reduction in the Group's obligations within the framework of the change in pension regimes.

Financial situation at the end of the 2009 financial year

Cash flow generation for the 2009 financial year was ahead of expectations with free cash flow of €48.3 million. This performance was achieved despite €17.9 million of disbursements linked to restructuring and €37.8 million of additional contributions to the pension funds. It was notably the result of a structural improvement in working capital requirement which represented 0.7% of revenue at the end of 2009 and the optimisation of industrial investments which were limited to 1.4% of revenue.

The Group's overall financial situation is healthy: net financial debt, which amounted to €187.0 million at December 31, 2009, was reduced by 20.5% over the financial year and now represents only 29.5% of shareholders' equity.

Dividends

Within a context of good earnings resilience relative to 2008, the Group Management, the Supervisory Board and the Soderi Board of Directors propose to maintain a dividend5 of €0.12 per share in respect of the 2009 financial year.

Outlook

The environment remains fragile and uncertain. The end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010 have, however, shown some signs which could point to an improvement in the situation over the course of the year.

Within this context, Steria will remain on the offensive in 2010. While rigorously managing its costs, the Group will pursue the significant investments which started to bear fruit in 2009 in terms of industrialisation and changes in the offer portfolio, of which one of the main aims is to sustainably accelerate the level of organic growth.

Despite a first half which is likely to prove challenging, for the 2010 financial year as a whole the Group should show good resilience in terms of organic growth and operating margin.