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Group NFI up 29% at year-end 2017 for Hydrogen Group

Hydrogen Group has released its final results for the year ended 31st December 2017.

Group revenue to 31st December 2017 totalled £125.9m (2016: £116.2m). Full year net fee income+ ("NFI") was 29% higher at £22.8m (2016: £17.7m), primarily due to the acquisition of Argyll Scott, which completed on 2nd June 2017.

Underlying profit before tax ("PBT") was £0.8m (2016: £0.8m). The statutory loss for the year was £1.3m (2016: profit £1.5m).

The company’s dividend of 0.8p per share has been proposed for approval at AGM.

Basic EPS in the year of (4.4p) (2016: 6.8p). Adjusted** basic EPS in the year of 2.6p (2016: 6.8p).

In EMEA (including USA), NFI increased by £1.3m during the year, principally as a result of the inclusion of seven months' trade of the UK and Middle East based operations of Argyll Scott, and of increased trading in our US business. Trading in many of its core markets remains buoyant; however, the disappointing performance from life sciences weakened the Group’s overall EMEA performance.

Operating profit before exceptional items remained flat at £1.4m. The Group continues to roll out new disciplines with a goal to drive increased productivity and as a result improved conversion rates.

In APAC, the most notable change during the year was the growth in the APAC region where the bulk of Argyll Scott's operations are based.  NFI grew to £7.1m (2016: £3.3m). Operating profit before exceptional items increased to £0.4m from £0.3m in 2016 and the Board believes that the business is well positioned to grow profitably in 2018.

As Argyll Scott is predominantly a permanent business in APAC, a key focus in the region continues to be the development and expansion of the predominantly Hydrogen branded contract operations into Argyll Scott's client base and office infrastructure.      

Stephen Puckett, chairman, commented, "2017 was a transformational year for the Group principally due to the acquisition of Argyll Scott and its subsequent integration into the Group. I am pleased to report that the rationale behind the acquisition has proved sound and significant progress has been achieved against the objectives set out at the time of the acquisition.

"Organic growth in our UK contract book together with the opportunities for both revenue growth and cost synergies created by the acquisition places the Group in a position to deliver profit growth in 2018. To that end we are delighted that trading in 2018 has started well and is significantly ahead of 2017. The Board's confidence in the Group's future prospects has enabled it to re-initiate payment of a dividend with the intention to adopt a progressive dividend policy."

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