Q4 2019: record high FCF and cash dividend.

 Here are the highlights from the press release:

  • Q4 2019 organic growth: -2.8%
  • Q4 2019 underlying EBITA: € 292m
  • Q4 2019 EBITA margin: 4.9%
  • Q4 topline in Europe mixed, US slightly easing, both impacted by macro and political uncertainty; strong growth in RoW.  
  • Q4 gross margin 20.0%, up 20bp YoY; continued support from pricing, mix and digital tools.
  • FY 2019 EBITA margin 4.6%, down 10bp YoY; Q4 2019 EBITA margin down 30bp YoY to 4.9% due to digital/IT investments.
  • ongoing market share gains in several countries, fueled by digital strategy. 
  • FY 2019 FCF up 46% YoY to € 915m
  • January 2020 revenue decreased by 3%-4% YoY.

"In 2019, we solidified our global No. 1 position as the largest HR services firm in the world", says CEO Jacques van den Broek. "This further strengthens our commitment and responsibility to support people and organizations in realizing their true potential. In fact, we see it as our core business. It has helped us to achieve our leading position, and it will help us in our journey towards our ultimate goal of touching the work lives of 500 million people by 2030." 

“Financially, 2019 was a challenging year, but we have been able to demonstrate our resilience once again. Randstad's increasingly diversified portfolio by region and activity paid off. Our Group revenue was slightly down year-on-year organically, reflecting ongoing macro and political uncertainties, primarily in Northern Europe. At the same time, we continued our outperformance in several key geographies. Importantly, we were able to further improve our pricing power and discipline, reflecting increasing scarcity in labor markets and the successful implementation of our digital pricing tools globally. All in all, we protected our full-year 2019 EBITA margin, arriving at a sound level of 4.6%, while at the same time investing significantly in the future. Underpinning the strong resilience of our business model, we generated a record high free cash flow of € 915 million, resulting in a strong balance sheet and additional cash returns to shareholders. For 2019, we propose a record high total cash dividend of € 4.32 per ordinary share, including a special dividend of € 2.23. I would like to thank all Randstad colleagues around the world for their enthusiasm, commitment and dedication to this great company.”

As previously announced, we are making changes to realign the Board to better reflect our strategic priorities. René Steenvoorden, has been nominated to the Board reflecting our commitment to accelerate our digital strategy. At the upcoming Annual General Meeting, François Béharel, who was appointed to the Executive Board in January 2013, will not be nominated for reappointment for a third consecutive term. We are currently discussing with him the reallocation of his responsibilities as Executive Board member. We thank him for his contribution as a member of the Executive Board.