Solid 2016 results; investing for the future and returning excess capital

Q4 2016 summary
• Revenue growth accelerated to 6% organically[1] and trading days adjusted, up from 4% in Q3 2016
• Gross margin down 40 bps, against a strong comparison base in Q4 2015
• Costs well managed, with FTE employees up 2% and SG&A excluding one-offs[2] up 3%, both organically

FY 2016 summary

• Revenues up 4% organically, driven by strong growth Italy, Iberia, and Rest of World and a pick-up in France
• EBITA[3] margin excluding one-offs 5.0%; margin leadership maintained while also investing for the future
• Net income attributable to Adecco Group shareholders EUR 723 million
• Proposed dividend of CHF 2.40 per share, EUR 300 million share buyback programme announced today
• Further progress on digital strategy, with more than 10 ventures developing innovative new solutions
• Portfolio strengthened through acquisition of Penna in Q2, divestment of activities in Russia, Ukraine and Venezuela in Q3, and merger of Beeline with peer IQNavigator in Q4

FY 2017

• Revenues in January and February 2017 up 4–5%, organically and trading days adjusted
• From 1 April 2017, operations in North America and UK & Ireland will be combined and managed according to the business lines General Staffing and Professional Staffing

“In Q4 and FY 2016, The Adecco Group delivered a solid performance, thanks to our more than 33,000 colleagues and over 700,000 associates around the world. In 2016, we improved our relative growth compared to peers, maintained our EBITA margin leadership and generated good cash flow. We have also been taking the steps necessary to turn our long-term vision for the company into a reality for all stakeholders.

Emerging on the horizon is a new world of work. It brings exciting opportunities for The Adecco Group. Our approach to capture these opportunities is to Perform, Transform, and Innovate. With Perform, we are strengthening our current operations and reinforcing our competitive position. With Transform, we are enhancing the solutions and experience that we provide to our clients, candidates, associates and colleagues. And with Innovate, we are developing and acquiring new approaches and capabilities to capture the emerging opportunities in the changing world of work. This strategic agenda will allow us to drive revenue growth, expand our operating margin, and generate strong cash flow, consistent with our through-the-cycle financial objectives.

We are pursuing this agenda within the context of our ongoing commitment to invest in the business and return excess capital to shareholders. At the AGM 2017, the Board of Directors will propose a dividend of CHF 2.40 to shareholders, a 50% payout of 2016 adjusted earnings per share. Given our strong financial position, the Board has also decided to initiate a share buyback programme of up to EUR 300 million.”

Alain Dehaze, Group Chief Executive Officer

Press Release (PDF)
[1] Organic growth is a non-US GAAP measure and excludes the impact of currency, acquisitions and divestitures.
[2] In 2016, SG&A and EBITA included one-offs of EUR 8 million in Q4 2016 and EUR 36 million in FY 2016; in 2015, SG&A and EBITA included one-offs of EUR 48 million in Q4 2015 and EUR 66 million in FY 2015.
[3] EBITA is a non-US GAAP measure and refers to operating income before amortisation and impairment of goodwill and intangible assets.

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