Summary and highlights
· Revenues down 2% year-on-year, and down 4% organically1 and trading days adjusted (TDA), reflecting ongoing challenging market conditions in Europe and the US
· Continued strong improvement in gross margin, up 70 bps yoy to 19.4%, driven by focus on value-based pricing and enhanced business mix
· EBITA2 margin excluding one-offs3 4.9%, down 10 bps yoy; structural productivity improvements were offset by slowing revenue growth and strategic IT investments
· GrowTogether transformation programme on track to deliver 2019 and 2020 commitments
· Strong balance sheet with Net Debt/EBITDA4 excluding one-offs 1.1x; cash conversion5 84% and improved DSO
· Revenues in September and October combined down 4% organically and TDA, in-line with Q3
“In Q3 2019, we delivered a solid performance in an uncertain external environment. We remain focused on our business transformation and continue to invest in our strategic priorities - GrowTogether, IT and our digital ventures – which are fundamentally strengthening our business.
Our ongoing emphasis on value-based pricing and business mix improvement is driving a sustained increase in gross margin, which was up 60 basis points organically year-on-year.
We also delivered strong performances in the Career Transition and Talent Development activities, with a return to growth in Lee Hecht Harrison and revenue acceleration in General Assembly, confirming the value that these businesses bring to our portfolio.
As we look to the fourth quarter, we are continuing to build the next layer of the GrowTogether programme, with a focus on digital tools and solutions that deliver greater value to our clients and candidates. This includes rolling out an enhanced integrated front office solution, our global candidate app and the PERFORM methodology, putting us on track to deliver the EUR 250 million GrowTogether productivity target for 2020.”
Alain Dehaze, Group Chief Executive Officer