The FDM Group continues to apply a progressive dividend policy, aimed at increasing the annual dividend broadly in line with growth in the Group's earnings per share, whilst taking into account the Board's desire to maintain a cash buffer of approximately £30 million at a Group level, the ongoing needs for funding of organic growth across the business and the distributable reserves available to the Group. They intend to pay a final dividend of 18.5 pence per share, taking the total ordinary dividend to 34.5 pence per share, an increase of 15% on 2018.
The Board reviews the Group's dividend policy on a regular basis and is confident that there are currently no significant constraints which would impact this policy. The Group is debt free, has no significant capital commitments (with the exception of its leasehold properties) and has sufficient distributable reserves and cash balances to continue to apply this policy. As at 31 December 2019, the Company had distributable reserves of £40.2 million.
Other financial highlights include:
Solid operational and financial progress
Mounties assigned to client sites at week 525 were up 5% at 3,924 (2018: 3,747)
Mountie utilisation6 rate is down marginally at 96.1% (2018: 97.3%)
2,115 training completions in 2019, a 2% decrease (2018: 2155), with the timing of training courses flexed to align with client demand
97 new clients secured globally during the year (2018: 77); continued sector diversification, with 67% of new clients outside the financial services sector
Continued investment in people, training, technology and new disciplines to support future growth, including major new Academy in Sydney
Global total training capacity of 988 at year end, up by 5% over December 2018
Further geographic expansion, including strong growth in Mounties on site in EMEA (+48%) and APAC (+29%); Mounties placed for the first time in the Netherlands and good progress in Australia
Non-core revenue generated from contractors continues its managed decline, down 44%