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Vedior NV (0J9M)


Thursday 28 April, 2005

Vedior NV

1st Quarter Results

Vedior NV
28 April 2005

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

                Positive trends continue into first quarter 2005

                     For release at 7.00am on 28 April 2005

Zach Miles, Vedior's Chief Executive, said: 'We are pleased that our results
this quarter have clearly benefited from our strategic focus on professional/
executive recruitment.

The positive business trends we experienced towards the end of 2004 have
continued largely unchanged into the first quarter of 2005. The benefit of good
organic sales growth and cost control has more than offset the continuing price
pressure experienced in several markets, resulting in increased profitability

Comparisons this quarter need to take into account an additional week's trading
which had been gained in 2004 by a number of our businesses adjusting their
financial reporting in line with year end, as well as the impact of an early
Easter in 2005. The actual and organic change in sales and operating income for
our major regions and sectors is set out in detail on page 6 of this media


•   Sales up organically by 11% to €1,539 million

•   Operating income up organically by 22% to €38 million

    -  Strong increases in profitability in the US, Netherlands and 

•   Professional/executive recruitment sales up 18% organically led by IT
    recruitment sales growth of 34%

•   Permanent placement fees up 14% organically

•   Operating costs reduced as a percentage of sales to 15.0% on an
    organic basis despite increased investments in people and offices

•   Net income per share improved to €0.12 (2004: €0.10, or €0.07 adjusted
    for the number of business days)

•   Net debt decreased by 8% to €496 million (2004: €542 million)

N.B. Organic growth is measured by excluding the impact of currency effects and
acquisitions/disposals, and adjusting for the number of business days (see page
5 for a full explanation on the impact of business days).

Q1 2005 Financial Performance

Sales increased 4% (organic increase: 11% after adjustment for the number of
business days including the extra week in Q1 2004) to €1,539 million from €1,477
million in the same quarter in 2004. Currency fluctuations decreased sales by
1%. Permanent placement increased 14% organically and now represents 2.3% of
sales compared to 2.1% of sales in Q1 2004.

Professional/executive recruitment sales increased by 18% organically with
notable performances from the IT, engineering and accounting recruitment
sectors. IT recruitment sales grew by 34% organically with the strongest growth
in the UK followed by France and the US. Growth in engineering was driven mainly
by the UK and France, and in the accounting segment by the US and France.
Traditional recruitment grew organically by 8% with the strongest growth
achieved by the US, followed by the Netherlands and UK.

Gross Margin
Gross margin was 17.4% compared to 17.9% in Q1 2004. Gross margin has been
affected by a combination of pricing pressure, business mix and currency
effects. The pricing pressure, which is continuing in several markets, accounts
for 25 basis points of the decline in our gross margin.

Operating Costs
Operating efficiency continues to be a focus as sales increase. Operating costs
were 7% higher on an organic basis at €230 million reflecting increases in
personnel costs driven by sales growth as well as investment in new offices.
However, on an organic basis operating costs as a percentage of sales improved
to 15.0% from 15.6% in Q1 2004.

Operating Income
Operating income (before interest and tax) was €38 million, a 22% organic
increase from Q1 2004. On an organic basis, our conversion ratio (operating
income divided by gross profit) increased from 12.7% in Q1 2004 to 14.3%.
Currency fluctuations decreased operating income by 2%.

Net income and earnings per share
Net income increased 15% to €21 million from €17 million in the first quarter of
last year. Earnings per share were €0.12, a 20% increase from €0.10 in Q1 2004
(or €0.07 adjusted for the number of business days).

Net Debt and Cash Flow
Net debt decreased to €496 million, a €46 million reduction compared to the
first quarter of 2004. Cash flow from operating activities was €35 million
compared to €60 million in 2004 due to additional working capital requirements
to finance sales growth and tax paid from the disposal of Niscom in 2004.

Q1 2005 Operating Performance by Geography and Industry Sector


•  Organic sales increased by 5% compared to Q1 2004, the same organic
increase recorded in Q4 2004.

•  Operating income improved organically by 8%.

•  Most sectors grew positively with the exception of healthcare and

•  Professional/executive recruitment achieved overall organic sales
growth of 10% compared to Q1 2004, including organic sales growth of 26% in IT
recruitment and 23% in accounting recruitment.

United Kingdom

•  Strong sales growth continues with organic growth of 21% over Q1 2004.

•  Operating income increased organically by 8% impacted by both pricing
pressure and business mix.

   -  During this quarter, we have increased headcount and launched two new
   businesses to take advantage of growth opportunities in the UK market.

•  Professional/executive recruitment was up 23% compared to Q1 2004
mainly driven by the IT and engineering sectors.

•  Decline in Education sales has moderated following a difficult 2004.

•  Traditional recruitment sales were up 14% organically.

United States

•  Organic sales growth remains high at 25%.

•  Very strong increase in organic operating income; up 159%.

•  Professional/executive recruitment sales up 25% organically compared
to Q1 2004.

•  IT and accounting staffing organic sales continue to recover at a high
rate of growth.

•  Traditional recruitment sales grew organically by 28%.


•  Organic sales growth of 12% compared to Q1 2004.

•  Operating income increased organically by 108%.

•  The professional/executive recruitment market continues to gradually
recover with organic sales growth of 6% driven by an improved performance in the
IT and accounting sectors.

•  Traditional recruitment continues to accelerate as the market
recovers, growing by 14% organically this quarter.

Other Countries

•  In Belgium, sales grew by 9% organically while operating income
improved strongly.

•  In Southern Europe, sales improved strongly in Spain and Portugal.

•  Australia increased sales by 14% organically with particular growth in
the IT, executive and education sectors.

•  The Latin American region grew sales by 37% organically with all
markets performing well.

•  The acquisitions we made last year in Mexico, Poland and India, where
Vedior is market leader, continue to expand strongly.

•  Other emerging markets also grew strongly, particularly Turkey and

Business Development

In the UK, two organic start-up operations commenced trading in the first
quarter of 2005; Andrew Farr Associates operating in the accounting and finance
sector while Supreme Education is a new and innovative initiative for the
education recruitment sector.

We continue to actively seek attractive acquisition opportunities and are in
discussion with a number of potential candidates in order to further diversify
Vedior's business mix and increase the proportion of sales and profitability
derived from professional and executive recruitment.

We continue to invest in our business and strengthened our sales activities
through the addition of 222 new consultants during the quarter.

Management Outlook

Recent pessimism regarding the global economic outlook continues to limit
visibility. A number of recruitment markets appear to be in a 'wait and see'
mode with clients uncertain and unprepared to extend the rate of hiring beyond
current levels. Present trading conditions do not indicate any slowdown in
demand within our major markets. While a more robust recovery within the French
recruitment market did not materialise in the first quarter of 2005, neither has
demand noticeably deteriorated as some commentators feared.

We believe that pricing pressure is partly cyclical in nature and that improved
business sentiment will lead to an improved pricing environment. We continue to
take steps to improve the operating efficiency of our business and other
measures to counter this negative pricing trend.

As the world's leading provider of professional and executive recruitment,
Vedior expects to benefit from increasing structural demand and penetration of
higher-skilled recruitment sectors.

This media release includes forward-looking statements that reflect our
intentions, beliefs or current expectations and projections about our future
results of operations, financial condition, liquidity, performance, prospects,
growth, strategies, opportunities and the industry in which we operate.
Forward-looking statements include all matters that are not historical fact. We
have tried to identify these forward-looking statements by using words including
'may', 'will', 'should', 'expect', 'intend', 'estimate', 'project', 'believe',
'plan', 'seek', 'continue', 'appears' and similar expressions or their negative.

These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks,
uncertainties, assumptions and other factors that could cause our actual results
of operations, financial condition, liquidity, performance, prospects or
opportunities, as well as those of the markets we serve or intend to serve, to
differ materially from those expressed in, or suggested by these forward-looking
statements. Important factors that could cause those differences include, but
are not limited to our financial position and our ability to implement our
business strategy and plans and objectives of management for future operations,
our ability to develop, balance and expand our business, our ability to
implement our longterm growth strategy (including through organic growth and
acquisitions), our ability to make improvements to our capital structure,
industry and market trends and volumes, including the speed and strength at
which the staffing services industry and the sectors in which we operate,
rebound from economic slowdowns and recessions, the effects of regulation
(including employment and tax regulations), our ability to improve the
efficiency of our operations and to reduce expenses in our operating companies
and their network of offices, litigation and our ability to take advantage of
new technologies.

In light of these risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other factors, the
forward-looking events described in this media release might not occur.
Additional risks that we may deem immaterial or that are not presently known to
us could also cause the forward-looking events discussed in this media release
not to occur. Except as otherwise required by applicable law, we undertake no
obligations to update publicly or revise publicly any forward-looking
statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, changed
circumstances or any other reason after the date of this media release.

Company Profile:

Vedior is one of the world's largest recruitment companies and is a full-service
recruitment provider with a diversified portfolio of brands targeting a broad
range of industry sectors. Annual sales for 2004 were €6,467 million.

From its global network of offices spanning Europe, North America, Australasia,
Asia, South America and Africa, Vedior offers temporary and permanent
recruitment as well as a number of complementary employment-related services
such as outplacement, HR outsourcing, payrolling and training.

Vedior has a leading market position in the provision of professional/executive
recruitment in sectors such as information technology, healthcare, accounting,
engineering and education. In order to meet client requirements for all
categories of personnel, we also have a significant global network providing
administrative/secretarial and light industrial recruitment.

Financial Agenda:

29 April 2005         Annual General Meeting of Shareholders
3 May 2005            Declared ex-payment from reserves
17 May 2005           Publication of stock equivalent for cash payment from
23 May 2005           Distribution from reserves made payable
28 July 2005          Publication second quarter results
27 October 2005       Publication third quarter results
2 February 2006       Publication of annual results 2005

For further information, please contact:

Zach Miles, Chief Executive                      +31 (0)20 573 5609
Frits Vervoort, CFO
Jelle Miedema, Company Secretary
Michael Berkeley, Citigate Dewe Rogerson        +44 (0)20 7638 9571
Patrick Toyne-Sewell, Citigate Dewe Rogerson    +44 (0)20 7638 9571

                      This information is provided by RNS
            The company news service from the London Stock Exchange                                                                                                                            

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