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WKN: A0HL48 ISIN: GB00B0KM9T71 Ticker-Symbol: S8T 
Frankfurt
03.03.21
08:07 Uhr
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SThree: FY20 Trading Update

DJ SThree: FY20 Trading Update

SThree (STEM) 
SThree: FY20 Trading Update 
 
14-Dec-2020 / 07:00 GMT/BST 
Dissemination of a Regulatory Announcement that contains inside information 
according to REGULATION (EU) No 596/2014 (MAR), transmitted by EQS Group. 
The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement. 
 
14 December 2020 
 
    SThree plc 
 
    FY20 Trading Update 
 
resilient performance WITH MARKET EXPECTATIONS RECENTLY UPGRADED, DRIVEN BY 
    FOCUS ON STEM AND FLEXIBLE WORKING 
 
  SThree plc ("SThree" or the "Group"), the only global pure-play specialist 
  staffing business focused on roles in Science, Technology, Engineering and 
       Mathematics ('STEM'), is pleased to issue a trading update(1) for the 
        financial year ended 30 November 2020. 
 
        Highlights 
 
  · Group net fees for the full year down 8% YoY, demonstrating resilience 
  against Covid-19's impact and the continued recovery of the underlying 
  business in H2 
 
  · Continued to take market share in the US, Germany and the Netherlands 
 
  · Full year profit before tax recently upgraded, driven by better than 
  expected Q4 which saw net fees down 7% and stand out performances from the 
  US (up 11%) and Germany (down 3%) 
 
  · Significant sequential improvement of Group performance Q4 vs Q3 
 
  · Contract net fees demonstrating impressive resilience, down 7%. Contract 
  represents 76% of Group net fees (FY 2019: 74%) 
 
  · Permanent net fees also showing resilience down 13% 
 
  · 89% of Group net fees generated from international(2) markets (FY 2019: 
  87%) 
 
  · Strong balance sheet, with net cash at 30 November 2020 of GBP50m (30 
  November 2019: GBP11m) 
 
        Mark Dorman, Chief Executive, commented: 
 
       "FY2020 has been far from what was expected when we entered the year. 
        However, guided by our purpose and our strategy, we have responded 
       thoughtfully and executed well. I am proud to be reporting today on a 
        resilient performance. 
 
 The crisis has clearly demonstrated, not just for our business but for many 
   businesses, how important it is to be anchored with a clear purpose and a 
    robust strategy. From these foundations our teams have worked incredibly 
hard to strengthen bonds with clients and candidates whilst quickly adapting 
        their services to suit the dramatic changes in 2020. 
 
 Our unique position at the centre of STEM and flexible working means we are 
       perfectly poised to capitalise on the opportunities available to us." 
 
                                FY 2020   Q4 2020  Q3   Q2   Q1 
                                                  2020 2020 2020 
Net Fees       FY 2020  FY 2019   YOY       YOY   YOY  YOY  YOY 
 
Contract       GBP235.3m   GBP254.6m    -7%       -6%   -12% -10% +2% 
Permanent      GBP75.6m   GBP87.8m    -13%      -10%   -19% -17% -6% 
GROUP          GBP310.9m   GBP342.4m    -8%       -7%   -14% -12% +0% 
 
Management 
structure 
DACH(3)        GBP105.8m   GBP109.3m    -3%       -2%   -9%  -9%  +9% 
EMEA Exc       GBP117.8m   GBP141.2m   -16%      -20%   -22% -17% -6% 
DACH(4) 
USA            GBP77.2m   GBP76.7m     +2%      +11%   -3%  -2%  +0% 
APAC           GBP10.1m   GBP15.2m    -26%      -30%   -27% -36% -11% 
GROUP          GBP310.9m   GBP342.4m    -8%       -7%   -14% -12% +0% 
 
Top 5 
countries 
Germany        GBP96.9m   GBP101.6m    -4%       -3%   -10% -10% +7% 
Netherlands    GBP47.3m   GBP52.3m    -10%      -15%   -13% -12% +3% 
UK             GBP35.2m   GBP43.9m    -19%      -22%   -28% -19% -8% 
USA            GBP77.2m   GBP76.7m     +2%      +11%   -3%  -2%  +0% 
Japan          GBP5.9m    GBP7.8m    -25%      -25%   -27% -36% -11% 
ROW(5)         GBP48.4m   GBP60.1m    -17%      -19%   -23% -19% -7% 
GROUP          GBP310.9m   GBP342.4m    -8%       -7%   -14% -12% +0% 
 
Division Mix   FY 2020 
Contract         76% 
Permanent        24% 
 
Sector Mix     FY 2020 
Technology       45% 
Life Sciences    23% 
Engineering(6)   22% 
Banking &         8% 
Finance 
Other             2% 
 
        Business Performance 
 
     Group net fees for the year declined 8% with performance across all our 
markets impacted by declines in aggregate demand as a result of the COVID-19 
pandemic. The sequential trend Q4 vs Q3 showed an improvement in performance 
in net fees across the Group, as the underlying business saw activity levels 
        strengthening. 
 
   Our Contract-focused business model has shown its greater resilience with 
        net fees down just 7% and now represents 76% of Group net fees. The 
contractor order book(7) on 30 November has declined 10% YoY, compared to Q3 
 down 14%. This is a result of increased sales activity levels for the Group 
        along with increased contractor retention levels. 
 
    Net fees in our DACH region were particularly resilient, down 3% for the 
    year. Its Life Sciences business delivered a strong performance with net 
        fees up 4%. This is in part driven by an exceptional Q1, as well as 
      increased demand in the second half of the year in Clinical Research & 
    Development. Technology was flat for the year with increasing demand for 
        Cyber Security and Data Science skills. 
 
EMEA excl DACH saw net fees decline 16% in the year, primarily driven by the 
   UK's performance. The Netherlands, our largest country in the region, saw 
        net fees decline 10%. Our Dutch Engineering business had a strong 
    performance in the year with net fees up 20% and Life Sciences up 6%. We 
     have seen good gains in market share in the Netherlands and Germany(8). 
 
  The USA is the world's largest STEM staffing market and our business there 
has demonstrated its strength with net fees up 2% for the year and up 11% in 
     Q4. We also gained market share in the US(8). This region has shown the 
        benefits of investing in the right vertical niches and understanding 
        customer needs. Performance in our Life Sciences business has been 
   particularly strong with net fees growing 16% in the year as we have seen 
robust demand in the second half of the year in Clinical Operations, Product 
Development and Quality Assurance. Our Technology business has grown 9% with 
        increased demand in Mobile Applications & Software Development, and 
  Engineering was up 1%. As a key area of focus for the Group we continue to 
    make targeted investments in the region, aligning our resources with the 
        best long-term opportunities. 
 
  APAC net fees were down 26% in the full year, primarily driven by the more 
      transactional nature of our business in Japan, which is 94% permanent. 
 
Group average headcount was down 6% YoY, with period end headcount down 17%. 
   We will continue to invest in line with our previously stated strategy to 
       focus on specific niches within sectors and markets where we can gain 
        valuable market share and cement our position. 
 
        Liquidity and dividends 
 
  SThree remains in a strong financial position, with net cash of GBP50m at 30 
         November 2020 (30 November 2019: Net cash GBP11m). 
 
   As at 30 November 2020 the Group has total accessible liquidity of GBP155m. 
 This is made up of GBP50m net cash, a GBP50m revolving credit facility ("RCF"), 
   a GBP5m overdraft and GBP50m from the CCFF (RCF, overdraft and CCFF not drawn 
       down). In addition, SThree has a GBP20m accordion facility as well as a 
  substantial working capital position reflecting net cash due to SThree for 
        placements already undertaken. 
 
We continue to recognise the importance of dividends to our shareholders and 
        are keeping future dividend payments under active review. 
 
        Analyst conference call 
 
 SThree is hosting a webinar for analysts and investors today at 0830 BST to 
      discuss the FY Trading Update and to present the Group's STEM staffing 
        market pulse check. 
 
        If you would like to listen to the webinar please contact 
        SThree@almapr.co.uk 
 
The Group plans to issue its results for the financial year ended 30 
November 2020 on 25 January 2021. 
 
  (1) All YoY growth rates and business mix percentages in this announcement 
are expressed at constant currency and exclude Australia, which we exited in 
        Q4 2020 
 
        (2) International represents our businesses outside the UK 
 
        (3) DACH - Germany, Austria and Switzerland 
 
 (4) EMEA excl DACH - UK, Ireland, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, 
        Spain and Dubai 
 
 (5) ROW - All other countries we operate in excluding Germany, Netherlands, 
        UK, USA and Japan 
 
        (6) Engineering now includes Energy, which was previously reported 
     separately. Up-stream oil and gas comprises approximately 5% of the new 
        Engineering sector 
 
(7) The contractor order book represents value of net fees until contractual 
        end dates, assuming all contractual hours are worked 
 
(8) The Netherlands temporary technical sector market turnover (ABU Data 
2020) and Global Staffing Industry Analysts ("SIA") data August 2020 update 
and USA SIA September 2020 update 
 
    - Ends - 
 
                           Enquiries: 
 
                           SThree plc 020 7268 6000 
Mark Dorman, Chief Executive Officer 
Alex Smith, Chief Financial Officer 
Steve Hornbuckle, Company Secretary 
 
                              Alma PR 020 3405 0205 
 
Rebecca Sanders-Hewett                SThree@almapr.co.uk 
 
Susie Hudson 
 
        Notes to editors 
 
    SThree plc brings skilled people together to build the future. It is the 
      only global pure-play specialist staffing business focused on roles in 
        Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics ('STEM'), providing 
      permanent and flexible contract talent to a diverse base of over 9,000 
        clients in 15 countries. 
 
  The Group's c.2,600 staff cover the Technology, Life Sciences, Engineering 
        and Banking & Finance sectors. 
 
     SThree plc is quoted on the Premium Segment of the Official List of the 

(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

December 14, 2020 02:00 ET (07:00 GMT)

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