2020 annual results:
Exceptional resilience and strong increase in cash flow
Operating margin: 9.7%
Net income attributable to owners of the parent: €26.1 million
Net cash: €44.7 million
Aubay’s Board of Directors, which met on March 24, 2021 under Chairman Christian Aubert, approved the statutory and consolidated statements for 2020. The financial statements have been audited by the Statutory Auditors. and the auditors’ report will be issued once the procedures required to publish the company’s Universal Registration Document have been completed.
Despite the unprecedented crisis, the Group demonstrated exceptional resilience in 2020, with an operating performance placing it among the frontrunners of the industry. This resilience is reflected in all the indicators, which have remained at a high level. Our teams were able to adapt quickly to new ways of working. The second half of the year was dynamic from a commercial perspective, accelerating a return to normal business conditions. There was a similar upturn in the recruitment process, following the slowdown observed at the start of the pandemic.
Operating margin from ordinary activities above projections
Operating margin was higher than estimated when the annual results were published in January, at 9.7%. It is once again perfectly in line with our profitability benchmark (between 9.5% to 10.5%).
The Group’s operating margin for the period came in at 9.3% for activities in France and 10.0% for activities overseas, compared with 11.3% and 9.1% in 2019, respectively.
Operating profit: €38.6 million
Operating profit came to €38.6 million, a contained decline of 3.0%, after taking into account the cost of performance shares of €1.1 million and “Other operating income and expenses” representing a net expense of €1.5 million, primarily comprising restructuring expenses.
Net income attributable to owners of the parent down to almost break-even (6.1% of net margin)
Net income attributable to owners of the parent remained high at €26.1 million, very close to the record figure achieved in 2019, after taking into account a tax expense of €12 million, which represents an effective tax rate of 31%, versus 33% in 2019.
Sharp increase in net cash (excluding rental liabilities): €44.7 million
Our financial position was considerably strengthened in 2020 thanks to a remarkable increase in cash flow from operations of €47.2 million, versus €34.9 million in 2019. The company has not requested any extension for paying its expenses, particularly with regard to tax or social security. Aubay’s net cash therefore improved from €11.6 million at December 31, 2019 to €22.6 million at June 30, and then €44.7 million at end-2020.
Proposed dividend of €0.66 per share
In light of this remarkable performance and its excellent financial position, the Board of Directors has decided to propose a dividend of €0.66 per share in respect of 2020 to the Annual General Meeting, representing a payout ratio of around 33% of net income. An interim dividend of €0.33 was already paid in November 2020.
Outlook for 2021
Aubay operates on a dynamic market, that still offers good visibility. The health crisis has acted as a means to step up investment in digital transformation and in strengthening system resilience. In addition, major groups are constantly seeking to reduce costs related to modernizing their information systems by engaging the services of partners such as Aubay that have long since demonstrated their efficiency.
As a result, demand for our services has not weakened since the start of the year – quite the opposite. With our tailor-made services, the Group is continuing its development and gaining market share.
Our consultants’ productivity rate is high at the start of the year and our hiring plan particularly robust. The headcount has been increasing at a slightly faster rate than anticipated, particularly in France.
This has boosted the confidence of Aubay’s management for the current year and those to come.
The objectives for 2021 are:
- Annual revenue of between €440 million and €450 million,
- Operating margin from ordinary activities of between 9.5% and 10.5%.
Aubay will publish its 2021 first-quarter revenue on April 21, 2021 after the close of trading.