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Dutch staffing firm Brunel International (BRI:AEX) saw European revenue rise in the first quarter “despite the uncertain conditions”, said the company’s CEO Jan Arie van Barneveld yesterday.
The firm, which is ranked 11th in the Dutch staffing market according to Staffing Industry Analysts’ latest research, said that all divisions have performed as expected.
“Our customer focus and strong commercial and support organisation enabled continued growth and increased our market share. We do expect this to continue during the remainder of 2012 despite the political and economic uncertainties,” Mr Van Barneveld added.
Revenue in the first quarter increased by +28% to €290.4 million from €227.4 million a year ago. Although gross profit was up +24%, reaching €57.4 million compared to €46.4 million in 2011, the gross margin decreased by -0.6% to 19.8%.
Total overhead costs increased by €4 million in this first quarter of 2012 to €35 million when compared to a year ago.
The firm reported that earnings before interest and taxes in the first quarter of 2012 was €22.4 million, up +42% from €15.8 million a year ago.
Brunel said it performed “well” in Europe as total revenue increased by +18% to €95 million while the gross margin improved to 36.3% compared to 35.5% in the first quarter in 2011.
In the Netherlands revenue rose +13% to €43 million against the same period last year. The Dutch gross margin improved by +1% to 35% in Q1 2012.
In Germany revenue was also up +25% at €44 million when compared to last year, but the gross margin remained flat at 40%.
The Oil and Gas division realised revenue of €196 million, an increase of 33% driven by the large numbers of contractors employed on projects in Australia. Revenue in this division in Australia amounted to around €66 million in the first quarter. In this segment the gross margin in Q1 2012 was flat at almost 12%.
“The Oil and Gas division is expected to continue this growth but, based on our current knowledge, we do foresee a slightly lower level of activity in the second half of this year as some of the existing projects near completion and new projects start up,” Mr Van Barneveld said.
Looking ahead, Mr Van Barneveld said that “based on the aforementioned developments we remain positive, but at this moment do not wish to provide an increased quantitative outlook and subsequently we repeat our expectation of a full year revenue increase of at least 10%.”
Brunel International is a Dutch provider of staffing and payrolling, as well as permanent recruitment, contract positions and HR consultancy services. The firm has 90+ branches in over 30 countries and concentrates its activities in Europe mainly on the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium. It covers a range of industry segments, including oil and gas, automotive, rail, aerospace and telecommunications.
When the firm announced its first-quarter results in the afternoon on Thursday, the company’s share set a new 52-week high at €36.83. The market closed at €36.00, seeing a day’s change of +2.8%. This values the company at €847.11 million.