Like its namesake movie - where the central character overcomes testing conditions – we think Gattaca will also emerge much fitter after its recent lean spell. Encouragingly the company has made a good start, albeit there is still plenty of climbing ahead.
With regards to trading, the Board reported this morning that FY18 NFI grew 1% LFL to £78.8m (H1 +2%: H2 flat) with adjusted PBT “broadly in line with expectations”. We interpret this as c.£12.6m (vs ED £13.0m, £16.2m FY17) – implying H2 PBT of £5.7m (vs H1 £6.9m), 18% FY18 NFI conversion (vs 23% FY17) and £1.4m of annualised cost savings.
Elsewhere, net debt closed July slightly lower than anticipated at £46m (ED £48m; FY19 £40.3m), despite a £3.5m final payment related to the Feb’17 RSL acquisition – leaving gearing at 3x EBITDA. The appointment of a new CEO is at an “advanced stage”, whilst the Strategic Review is “nearing completion”.
Here, we envisage further restructuring at UK Telco (FY18 NFI fell -24% LFL; -19% H1 and est. -29% H2), alongside self-help measures within Contract (-5% LFL to £56.7m), central resources and a few overseas territories.
Let’s not forget though, that Gattaca is a fundamentally sound business. They are enjoying profitable and expanding positions (see below) in UK Engineering (+1% LFL NFI to £47.4m eg Converged Technologies, Infrastructure), International (+7% £14.9m eg North America) and UK IT (+4% eg Cloud, cyber). It is well balanced across permanent (+19% LFL to £22.1m) and contract (-5% £56.7m) placements to take advantage of the economic cycle. The improvement in ‘Perm’ is partly attributable to signing a number of ‘high quality, multi-year’ Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) clients.