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SERCO (LSE: SRP).

Head Office

Serco Group plc

Serco House

16 Bartley Wood Business Park

Bartley Way

Hook

Hampshire

RG27 9UY

United Kingdom

T: +44 (0)1256 745900

F: +44 (0)1256 744111

Website

http://www.serco.com/

The Company

SERCO's customers are national and local governments and leading companies. SERCO has more than 50 years' experience operating in the areas of transport, employment, healthcare, protecting borders and supporting the armed forces.

Serco Group plc half year results 2019
Six months        2019                        2018
ended 30 June

Revenue (1)       [pounds sterling]1,475.5m   [pounds sterling]1,366.2m
Underlying           [pounds sterling]50.6m      [pounds sterling]37.6m
Trading
Profit (UTP) (2)
Reported             [pounds sterling]17.2m      [pounds sterling]31.9m
Operating
Profit
(ie after
exceptional
items) (2)
Underlying                             2.62p                       1.84p
Earnings
Per Share (EPS),
diluted (3)
Reported EPS (ie                      (0.15p)                      1.30p
after
exceptional
items), diluted
Free Cash             [pounds sterling]0.4m     ([pounds sterling]31.6m)
Flow (4)
Adjusted Net        [pounds sterling]200.6m     [pounds sterling]204.8m
Debt, pro
forma (5)
Reported Net        [pounds sterling]206.7m     [pounds sterling]220.1m
Debt (6)

Six months         Change at reported   Change at constant currency
ended 30 June      currency

Revenue (1)        (+8%)                (+6%)
Underlying         +35%                 +29%
Trading
Profit (UTP) (2)
Reported           (46%)                (52%)
Operating
Profit
(ie after
exceptional
items) (2)
Underlying         +42%                 +35%
Earnings
Per Share (EPS),
diluted (3)
Reported EPS (ie
after
exceptional
items), diluted
Free Cash
Flow (4)
Adjusted Net
Debt, pro
forma (5)
Reported Net
Debt (6)


Rupert Soames, Serco Group Chief Executive, said: "Following a strong 2018, which marked an inflection point for Serco after several years of decline, we are reporting another good performance in the first half of 2019 with Underlying Trading Profit and margin well up on the first half of last year. Order intake so far this year has been very strong at over [pounds sterling]3bn, already exceeding our revenue forecast for the whole of 2019. The strategic advantage of having a strong international footprint shows clearly in these results, with strong revenue growth in North America and AsPac; I am also delighted to see the UK & Europe division reaping the benefit of the Carillion health facilities management acquisition completed in 2018.

"The acquisition of the Naval Systems Business Unit of Alion for $225m, announced in May, will add materially to the scale and capability of our US defence business; having now received all necessary regulatory approvals, we look forward to completing the transaction imminently and to seeing the earnings accretion it will deliver. We continue to expect our organic growth to accelerate from this year's 4% to around 5% in 2020, as a number of large new contracts become fully operational. As we noted at the beginning of the year, absent unforeseen headwinds or major rebid losses, our recent strong order intake gives us confidence that we will grow faster than our market for at least the next two years."

Highlights

* Underlying Trading Profit(2) increased by 35%; excluding the [pounds sterling]2.1m favourable impact of currency, the growth at constant currency was 29%; if the [pounds sterling]1.6m increase from the adoption of IFRS16 were also excluded, growth would have been 25%.Growth was particularly strong in the Americas division. The Group margin increased by 60 basis points to 3.4%.

* Despite a [pounds sterling]13.0m increase in UTP, Reported Operating Profit reduced by [pounds sterling]14.7m as a result of a [pounds sterling]19.5m increase in the charge for exceptional items which included [pounds sterling]22.9m related to the conclusion of the SFO investigation, as well as a net [pounds sterling]nil movement in Contract & Balance Sheet Review items which in 2018 benefited from a [pounds sterling]7.8m net credit. Onerous Contract Provisions (OCPs) are running off as we expected and the residual liability now stands at [pounds sterling]27m, which compares to [pounds sterling]447m as at December 2014; the residual cash liability is likely to be [pounds sterling]50-[pounds sterling]55m.

* Underlying EPS increased by 42%, reflecting the growth in Underlying Trading Profit, together with the benefit of the tax rate reducing from 34% to 24%. Reported EPS was a loss as a result of the exceptional items.

* Free Cash Flow(4) improved to a modest inflow, which includes the effect of the increase in underlying profitability, a significantly smaller working capital outflow and lower cash outflows on the residual OCP portfolio.

* Adjusted Net Debt(5) excludes [pounds sterling]145m of lease liabilities now accounted for in accordance with IFRS16; it is also shown on a pro forma basis to exclude the [pounds sterling]139m net proceeds of the Equity Placing completed in May that will be used to fund the NSBU acquisition. Reported Net Debt on a statutory basis includes both these items. Underlying pro forma leverage stands at 1.37x EBITDA.

* Acquisitions: the NSBU acquisition, announced in May 2019, will add materially to the scale and capability of our US defence business, and to the Group's earnings from 2020. This follows the two much smaller acquisitions completed in 2018 of BTP Systems (deepening our satellite and radar capabilities) and of six Carillion health facilities management contracts (adding significant scale to our UK health business).

* Order intake was very strong at [pounds sterling]3.3bn; the two largest awards were for asylum accommodation and support services in the UK valued at [pounds sterling]1.9bn, and for defence healthcare provision in Australia valued at [pounds sterling]0.6bn; approximately 60% of the order intake comprised new business, and 40% was existing work being rebid or extended. 2019 will be the third year in a row in which order intake exceeds revenues.

* Order book increased by [pounds sterling]2.0bn to [pounds sterling]14.0bn reflecting the strong order intake.

* The Pipeline of larger new bid opportunities reduced to [pounds sterling]3.2bn at 30 June 2019, reflecting in large part the very strong result of contract awards in the period; we expect the Pipeline to increase in the second half.

* As stated in our Closed Period trading update issued on 27 June, we expect 2019 full year revenue of around [pounds sterling]3.0bn and Underlying Trading Profit of approximately [pounds sterling]105m; this excludes any potential part-year financial contribution from the acquisition of NSBU. Assuming completion of the acquisition, Adjusted Net Debt at the end of 2019 is expected to be around [pounds sterling]250m, with leverage for covenant purposes on an underlying pro-forma basis of approximately 1.5x, comfortably around the mid-point of our normal target range of 1-2x.

https://www.serco.com/news/media-releases/2019/serco-group-plc-half-year-results-2019
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Title Annotation:Leading Companies in the Industry
Publication:United Kingdom Armaments
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 14, 2019
Words:1110
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