Michael Page increases its 2015 interim dividend by 5.3% and pays special

DividendMax Ltd.

Michael Page increases its 2015 interim dividend by 5.3% and pays special

Highlights (Constant Exchange Rates) 

Group gross profit up 10.7% to £280.9m

All four regions delivered year-on-year growth: UK +12.0%, EMEA +11.8%

Operating profit increased 16.3%

FX headwinds reduced reported gross profit by £11m and operating profit by £2m

Fee earner to operational support staff ratio at record 77:23 (H1 2014: 75:25)

Conversion rate of gross profit to operating profit increased to 14.3% (H1 2014: 13.5%)

Tax rate of 30% (H1 2014: 34%)

Interim dividend up 5.3% to 3.6 pence per share, totalling £11.3m  

Special dividend of 16.0 pence per share, totalling £50m

Commenting, Steve Ingham, Chief Executive Officer, said:

"For the fourth successive quarter we delivered double-digit gross profit growth in constant currencies and have continued to see improvement in all our regions. Our five high-potential markets of Germany, Greater China, South East Asia, the US and Latin America, despite the challenges in Brazil, are performing at a record level and now represent 30% of Group gross profit. 

"Movements in foreign exchange rates, particularly the Euro, continue to impact our results negatively. This affected our year to date results adversely by £11m of gross profit and £2m of operating profit. At June closing rates, this implies a full year impact of £28m of gross profit and £6m of operating profit.

"The Group's conversion rate rose from 13.5% to 14.3% year-on-year. This reflected our ongoing focus on conversion as well as benefits from improving market conditions. There were a number of specific items in the period which reduced operating profit. Excluding these, the conversion rate would have been 15.2%.

"As at 30 June 2015, the Group held net cash of c.£100m, a position the Board believes contains surplus capital of £50m. As a result the Board is announcing today a supplementary return which, following consultation with shareholders, will be by way of a special dividend of 16 pence per share. The Board is also announcing an interim dividend of 3.6 pence per share, an increase of 5.3% over last year. In total, this amounts to a cash return of £61.3m payable in the second half of 2015.

"We are pleased with the first half performance and the outlook is positive for all our regions in the second half. We remain focused on continuing our investment in the future of the Group while at the same time, improving our productivity and conversion rate. Aside from the impact of foreign exchange, the Board's expectations for the full year remain unchanged."

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