The group said that worldwide economic conditions are “largely positive” and the main markets in which it operates are expected to grow – even the poor old UK, which continues to operate “under a cloud of Brexit uncertainty”.
The positive economic outlook suggests a good year ahead for the staffing sector, with "Staffing Industry Analysts" forecasting 6% growth in the global staffing sector in 2018, noted Empresaria's chairman, Tony Martin.
The group is, however, maintaining a cautious view on political risk, which could derail growth in any territory, while it will have to overcome the impact of new legislation in its markets, with particular changes in Germany and Japan affecting the temporary staffing markets in 2018.
Revenue in 2018 rose 32%, or 28% on a constant currency (CC) basis to £357.1mln from £270.4mln the year before. Revenue from permanent placements was up 14% year-on-year while temporary and contract revenue was up 34%.
Net fee income rose for the eighth consecutive quarter to £69.4mln from £59.0mln the year before – a 13% change on a CC basis.
Adjusted profit before tax rose 20% (CC:14%) to £11.0mln from £9.2mln the year before while reported profit before tax rose 3% (CC: -2%) to £8.1mln from £7.9mln in 2016.
The group saw strong profit growth in Japan, Chile and in the professional services and other specialist sectors of the UK business.
The conversion ratio nudged up to 16.7% from 16.6% in 2016, representing the sixth consecutive year of improvement.
The final dividend has been increased by 15% to 1.32p from 1.15p the previous year.
"We are pleased to be reporting another year of record results, with this period being the sixth year of double-digit adjusted diluted earnings per share growth,” revealed Joost Kreulen, the chief executive of Empresaria.
“Our diversification by geography and sector places the group in a strong position to withstand localised market issues. The group remains focused on delivering our strategy: strengthening a multi-branded group, with a focus on developing leading brands that are diversified and balanced by geography and sector,” Kreulen continued.
“The group has a strong platform in place from which to launch the next phase of its growth and we see good opportunities to support the profitable growth of our brands in the year ahead," the Empresaria CEO concluded.