Final Results

09 March 2021

‘Strong financial discipline, robust platform, well-positioned for growth’

 

RPS, a leading multi-sector global professional services firm, today announces its Final Results for the year ended 31 December 2020 (‘FY-2020’).


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 FY-2020  
 
FY-2019
FY-2019 at
constant
currency(1)
 
% change
% change
constant
currency
Alternative performance measures (1)      
Fee revenue (£m) (2) 457.3 528.2 522.2 (13%) (12%)
Adjusted operating profit (£m) (1) 20.5 43.4 42.9 (53%) (52%)
Adjusted profit before tax (£m) (1) 13.4 37.4 36.9 (64%) (64%)
Adjusted earnings per share (diluted) (p) (1) 4.29 12.31 12.17 (65%) (65%)
Cash and debt measures      
Conversion of profit into cash (%) (1) 239% 90% 90%   
Net bank borrowings (£m) (1) 10.8 94.1 93.1   
Leverage 0.7x 2.0x    
Statutory measures      
Revenue (£m) 542.1 612.6 606.4 (12%) (11%)
Operating (loss)/profit (£m) (24.2) 10.9 9.4 (322%) (357%)
Statutory (loss)/profit before tax (£m) (31.3) 4.9 3.4 (739%) (1021%)
Statutory diluted loss per share (p) (12.83) (0.54) (1.09) (2276%) (1077%)
Dividend per share (p) - 2.42 2.42   

 

Financial highlights

  • After a promising first quarter, trading was impacted by COVID-19, and fee revenue and adjusted operating profit ended down on the prior year. Nonetheless, Q3-2020 and Q4-2020 showed encouraging momentum and an improving fee trajectory.
  • All segments remained profitable for the year on an adjusted operating profit basis.
  • Statutory loss before tax includes £39.2 million of exceptional items, of which £32.6 million are non-cash costs relating to onerous property provisions and the impairment of goodwill and other assets, largely as a result of COVID-19.
  • Strong cash performance on the back of disciplined billing and cash collections and COVID-19 related tax deferrals, delivering a cash conversion of 239% (FY-2019: 90%), 213% excluding tax deferrals.
  • Focused cash management and a successful placing raising net proceeds of £19.4 million, resulted in a significant reduction in net bank borrowings with net debt to EBITDA leverage of 0.7x as at 31 December 2020 (31 December 2019: 2.0x). This is below the bottom end of our target range of 1.0x to 2.0x. Net debt is expected to increase during 2021 as fee revenue growth returns, lock up days normalise and tax deferrals are paid.
  • Amendments to banking facilities secured in 2020 provide significant liquidity and good headroom and, together with the placing, this is enabling RPS to make investment decisions for the medium term.
  • Due to uncertainty over timing of recovery of markets, no final dividend is proposed (FY-2019: 2.42 pence per share).

 

Business headlines

  • organisations provided resilience to COVID-19 impact. Government exposed business streams in Australia and the US delivered growth in fee revenue and/or adjusted operating profit. We are well positioned to benefit from increased spending by government.
  • Adapted service offerings and utilised technology to enable clients to manage COVID-19 impact, as well as enabling RPS to capitalise on longer term opportunities as we emerge from the pandemic.
  • Developed Net Zero Carbon proposition and secured a project in this space with a key blue-chip client.
  • Responded quickly to COVID-19 and took prudent and proactive steps to reduce costs and contain cash outflows. Matched capacity to market demand while preserving jobs, maintaining capability and expertise, and positioning ourselves for recovery.
  • Quickly mobilised our workforce to operate remotely. Rapidly adapted ways of working to maintain quality of work, continue to deliver for clients and networked our people to ensure teams continued to work effectively together.
  • Continued focus on renewables with fee revenue increasing from 7.5% of Energy segment fee revenue to 15%.

 

Strategic progress

Our investment in people, clients and connectivity in recent years has meant we were able to stay connected with our clients and each other and deliver uninterrupted high levels of technology enabled service throughout the pandemic. In 2020, we continued to progress  these strategic initiatives, including:

  • People – continued with a deliberate strategy of technology enabled performance management with the global adoption of online tools to support recruitment, performance, development and learning.
  • Clients – initiated global client experience project to connect marketing, business development and sales and focus on how we will grow the business by repeatedly delivering experiences our clients value and digitally connecting them to our expertise.
  • Connectivity – focus on technology enabled consulting and modern workplace tools led to an acceleration in digital collaboration between RPS teams and greater connectivity with clients, supporting creation of new services such a virtual consultation, and facilitating cross-sell within and between segments.

In addition:

  • As we work towards a thoughtful diversified energy offering, RPS continued to reshape the Global Energy portfolio with the divestment of our Specialist Geology business to Petrostrat in December 2020 and creation of a global renewables offering.
  • The strategic review of our North America segment is resulting in a reshaping of the Environmental Risk business to add resilience to our mid-market private equity exposure.

 

Commenting on the Final Results, John Douglas, Chief Executive, said:

“Our focus through the pandemic ensured the wellbeing and safety of our employees, preserved jobs, retained capability, and protected value. This focus resulted in an improving revenue trend in H2, with all segments profitable, debt significantly reduced, and leverage lowered. 

“Our business model, diversification and cohesion, exposure to government stimulus via public spending as well as private sector work, means that RPS is well positioned globally to grow as we emerge from the pandemic. 

“We have started 2021 well and expect 2021 to be a year of progress. Looking ahead, we are optimistic that the roll-out of vaccination programmes and easing of lockdowns in a number of key markets will stimulate economic activity and demand for our range of services. We will benefit from the strong structural growth drivers in the markets we serve and client demand for sustainable operations. This underpins our strategic focus on renewables, sustainability, project management and transport infrastructure.  We will continue to invest in people, clients and connectivity and drive cross-selling opportunities thereby further strengthening our platforms. We will also continue to consider strategic acquisitions where there is a clear value proposition that adds density not further diversity.  We remain focused on building a business that can deliver mid-single digit rates of organic growth and a double-digit operating margin in the medium term and are confident about our ability to do so.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our stakeholders – including our employees, our clients and our shareholders – for their support in 2020. As we move ahead, we remain committed to delivering great work for clients and to our promise of making complex easy.”

(1) Alternative Performance Measures are used consistently throughout this announcement: these include adjusted profit before tax, fee revenue, items prefaced ‘adjusted’ such as adjusted EPS, segment profit, underlying profit, adjusted operating profit, amounts labelled ‘at constant currency’, EBITDAS, conversion of profit into cash, net bank borrowings, leverage. For further details of their purpose, definition and reconciliation to the equivalent statutory measures see note 2.

(2) Fee revenue has been restated – see note 2 for further information

An analyst presentation will be held via video webcast at 9.30am today. To participate, please contact Buchanan via [email protected] to request joining details. A recording of the presentation will be available later today at the RPS website, www.rpsgroup.com.

 

Enquiries:
 
 
RPS Group plc  
John Douglas, Chief Executive Today: +44 (0) 20 7466 5000
Judith Cottrell, Group Finance Director Thereafter: +44 (0) 1235 863 206
Buchanan  
Henry Harrison-Topham / Chris Lane / Tilly Abraham Tel: +44 (0) 20 7466 5000
[email protected] www.buchanan.uk.com

 

Founded in 1970, RPS is a leading global professional services firm of c.5,000 consultants and service providers. Having operated in 125 countries across six continents RPS defines, designs and manages projects that create shared value for a complex, urbanising and resource scarce world.

RPS delivers a broad range of services in six sectors: property, energy, transport, water, defence and government services and resources. Services provided across RPS' six sectors cover twelve service clusters: project and programme management, design and development, water services, environment, advisory and management consulting, exploration and development, planning and approvals, health, safety and risk, oceans and coastal, laboratories, training and communications, creative & digital services.

RPS stands out for its clients by using its deep expertise to solve problems that matter, making them easy to understand. Making complex easy.

RPS’ London Stock Exchange ticker is RPS.L.  For further information, please visit www.rpsgroup.com.

This announcement contains certain forward-looking statements with respect to the financial condition, results of operations and businesses of RPS Group plc. These statements involve risk and uncertainty because they relate to events and depend upon circumstances that will occur in the future. There are many factors that could cause actual results or developments to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Nothing in this announcement should be construed as a profit forecast.

 

Next trading update: RPS will announce a Q1-2021 trading update in late April 2021.

 

Trading summary

Revenue for 2020 was £542.1 million (2019: £612.6 million, £606.4 million at constant currency). Our key performance measure is fee revenue; for 2020 this was £457.3 million (2019: £528.2 million, £522.2 million at constant currency). While the Group made a statutory loss before tax of £31.3 million (2019: profit £4.9 million, £3.4 million at constant currency) this was after significant exceptional items, many of which were non-cash items and largely driven by actions taken to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. The profit performance of the business is measured using adjusted operating profit. For 2020 this was £20.5 million (2019: £43.4 million, £42.9 million at constant currency). The trading performance of the Group by segment is summarised in the tables below.

The effective tax rate for the year on Adjusted profit before tax (PBT) was 22.4% (2019: 25.4%). The reduction was mainly due to the impact of carrying back losses in the US under the US CARES Act and recognising UK deferred tax balances at 19% rather than 17% . Our underlying tax rate prior to these adjustments increased in the year due to a rise in the proportion of taxable profit from higher rate tax jurisdictions, mainly Australia. The statutory tax credit for the year was £0.2 million (2019 charge: £6.1 million) on a loss before tax of £31.3 million (2019 profit before tax: £4.9 million).  The effect of tax on the impairment of goodwill incurred in the year of £25.9 million was £nil.

Adjusted diluted EPS was 4.29p (2019: 12.31p, 12.17p at constant currency), a decrease of 65% over last year at constant currency. Statutory diluted loss per share was 12.83p (2019: 0.54p).

In addition to the impact of the pandemic, profit in 2020 suffered marginally in comparison to 2019 from exchange movements on the conversion of overseas results. Adjusted PBT in 2020 would have been £0.4 million higher than reported had 2019 exchange rates been repeated in 2020. The Adjusted PBT in 2019 would have been £0.5 million lower than reported if 2020 exchange rates have prevailed in 2019. Statutory PBT in 2019 would have been £1.5 million lower than reported if 2020 exchange rates had prevailed in 2019.

 

Fee revenue

£mFY-2020FY-2019FY-2019
at constant
currency
    
Energy75.7104.3103.5
Consulting – UK and Ireland108.0126.2126.6
Services – UK and Netherlands85.796.697.1
Norway56.064.760.1
North America39.046.145.8
Australia Asia Pacific92.990.389.1
Fee Revenue457.3528.2522.2

 

The period under review started well with good growth in Energy, North America, and Australia Asia Pacific. As expected, the level of activity in Water Services was lower in Q1-2020 ahead of the UK water industry’s new five-year asset management period (AMP7). Our Consulting - UK and Ireland and Norway segments were impacted during the early period of the pandemic.

From the second quarter COVID-19 impacted our business across all segments of the Group, with fee revenue reducing by 18.1% (at constant currency) compared to Q2-2019. As restrictions eased in Q3-2020, the business started to recover with fee reduction improving as our people began to return from furlough or reduced hours, with the reduction on prior year of 15.6% (at constant currency). This improving trend continued into Q4-2020 and coupled with a ramp up in the AMP7 cycle as well as increased activity with mid-market PE in the US resulted in a 12.1% (at constant currency) decline in Q4-2020 fee revenue compared to Q4-2019.

Full year fees of £457.3 million were down 12.4% (at constant currency) on the prior year. RPS generates circa 55% of fee revenue from government or quasi-government organisations, which provided resilience to the impact of COVID-19 and enabled Australia Asia Pacific to continue to deliver fee revenue growth in 2020.

 

Adjusted operating profit

£mFY-2020FY-2019FY-2019 at constant currency
Energy4.511.111.0
Consulting – UK and Ireland6.315.115.1
Services – UK and Netherlands5.410.810.9
Norway4.56.05.5
North America2.93.33.4
Australia and Asia Pacific8.26.46.3
Total segment profit31.852.752.2
Unallocated costs(11.3)(9.3)(9.3)
Adjusted operating profit20.543.442.9

 

In response to COVID-19 the Group took swift and considered action to match capacity to market demand, reduce discretionary spend, and make changes to our operating model. As a result of these actions, which included the receipt of £4.2 million of furlough income, segment costs reduced by 9.5% at constant currency, versus 12.4% lower fee revenue at constant currency. Segment profit margin was 7.0% (2019 at constant currency: 10.0%), reflecting the impact of lower fee revenue, fixed costs in the business that were not able to be reduced in line with fees and a £0.6 million cost for maintenance of a property in the Republic of Ireland.

Unallocated costs were higher in 2020 as a result of continued investment in the strategic initiatives of People and Connectivity and the retirement package for the outgoing Group Finance Director. The investment in People and Connectivity includes investment in an online performance development tool, operating costs of the new ERP system and strategic hires within the technology team.

 

Exceptional items

Exceptional items of £39.2 million have been recognised in 2020 (2019: £23.4 million), of which £32.6 million are non-cash. The exceptional items are detailed in note 5 and include:

  • A goodwill impairment charge of £25.9 million after revising our view on the assumptions used for impairment modelling given the market uncertainty caused by the pandemic. This led to an impairment of goodwill at the Half Year in our Consulting UK and Ireland and North American segments, where the impact of the pandemic was more pronounced.
  • Restructuring costs of £6.0 million as a result of the cost mitigating actions taken in light of the impact of the pandemic on the Group and aligning our operating models to the new environment. These costs included redundancy for a limited number of roles, and closure of offices with surplus space resulting in impairment of right-of-use assets and onerous contract provisions for associated property costs.
  • ERP stabilisation activities of £2.2 million for the new ERP implemented in the Netherlands and parts of Australia in addition to an impairment of the ERP of £2.9 million in respect of those parts of the system which were identified in 2020 as needing to be redeveloped or are no longer part of the global design for future implementations. Further exceptional costs in respect of change management and data migration will be incurred in 2021 as the roll-out of the ERP continues.
  • Further legal fees of £1.8 million investigating potential issues regarding the administration of US government contracts and/or projects. The investigation is ongoing and further exceptional costs for legal fees will be incurred in 2021. This matter is disclosed as a contingent liability in note 16.
  • A loss of £0.4 million on divestment of our Specialist Geology business in the Energy Segment, supporting our strategy of migrating the business away from traditional oil and gas to renewables. The divestment took the form of an asset and trade sale with proceeds of £0.7 million in return for net assets transferred of £nil. Goodwill in respect of this business of £1.0 million was written off and transaction costs of £0.1 million were incurred resulting in a small loss on disposal.

We anticipate that exceptional costs will be incurred in 2021 associated with the continued rollout of the ERP system and ongoing legal fees in respect of the US government contracts investigation.

 

Amortisation of intangible assets and transaction-related costs

Amortisation of intangible assets and transaction related costs totalled £5.5 million (2019: £9.1 million). Included in this total is amortisation of acquired intangibles £5.5 million (2019: £8.6 million), and acquisition related third-party transaction costs of £nil (2019: £0.5 million).

 

Borrowings and cash flow

During the 12-month period, significant focus was placed on cash management and ensuring disciplined billings and cash collections. This focus and the equity placing in September, which raised a net £19.4 million, reduced net bank borrowings by £83.3 million to £10.8 million at 31 December 2020 (31 December 2019: £94.1 million).

Net cash from operating activities was £84.0 million (2019: £37.6 million). Our conversion of operating profit into operating cash was excellent at 239% (2019: 90%). This reflected a significant focus on billing and collections, the actions taken to protect cash in light of COVID-19, the unwinding of working capital as a result of a reduction in revenue, reduced corporate taxes and £10.2 million deferral of payroll/sales taxes under government COVID-19 schemes. Excluding the tax deferrals, cash conversion was 213%. Lock-up days at the end of December 2020 were exceptionally low at 48 days compared to 69 days at the end of 2019. Our focus on improving collections is demonstrated by average lock-up days for the year that were 65 days for 2020 compared to 69 days for 2019.

Net cash used in investing activities was £9.7 million (2019: £30.9 million), the decrease due to no acquisition costs in 2020 (2019: £10.1 million), lower net capital expenditure of £7.8 million (2019: £21.1 million) and proceeds on the divestment of Specialist Geology. The capital expenditure figure includes £2.5 million (2019: £7.8 million) invested in our new ERP system. In 2019 we completed the global design phase and implemented pilots in the Netherlands and part of Australia. The pilot implementation identified issues with the global design created by our implementation partner, and hence in 2020 the investment has been focused on progressing revisions to the global design and stabilisation of the initial rollout. In 2021 we plan to finalise the revised global design and continue with the global rollout programme.

Deferred consideration outstanding at the year end was £5.8 million (31 December 2019: £8.7 million).

The amount paid in respect of dividends was £nil (2019: £16.9 million) reflecting the cancellation of the 2019 final dividend and the decision not to pay an interim 2020 dividend. Included within financing activities are the £19.4 million net proceeds of the September share placing.

Our leverage (being net bank debt plus deferred consideration expressed as a percentage of adjusted EBITDA) at the year end was 0.7x (31 December 2019: 2.0x) compared to our target operating range of 1.0x to 2.0x. We expect this will increase during 2021 to within our target operating range of 1.0x to 2.0x as we invest in growing the business, as government clients revert to normal payment terms and as the COVID-19 cash initiatives reverse. The bank covenant limit that applies to all our facilities is 3.75x for December 2020 and March 2021, 3.25x for June 2021 and 3.0x thereafter.

The Group’s main banking facility is a committed multi-currency revolving credit facility (RCF) with Lloyds, HSBC and NatWest totalling £100.0 million which expires in July 2022. This may be extended to July 2024 with the banks’ agreement.

On 28 April 2020, to ensure adequate liquidity and financial flexibility through the pandemic, the Group secured an additional £60.0 million 12-month COVID-19 liquidity facility which formed part of the RCF facility. In September 2020 the expiry of this facility was extended to July 2022.

In addition, the Group has in issue 7-year US Private placement notes of US$34.1 million and £30.0 million that are repayable in September 2021. The Group is currently investigation options for refinancing these loan notes.

Net finance costs were £7.1 million (2019: £6.0 million), which includes £1.9 million in respect of IFRS 16 (2019: £1.9 million).

 

Dividends

In 2019 an interim dividend of 2.42 pence per share was paid in respect of H1 2019 but the payment of the proposed final dividend of 2.00 pence per ordinary share was cancelled as one of the measures in response to COVID-19.

Due to the ongoing restrictions in the UK and wider uncertainty over the timing of recovery in our markets, the Board of Directors has taken a prudent approach and decided not to recommend a dividend in respect of 2020. The Board recognises the importance of dividends to shareholders and anticipates resuming the dividend payment for 2021 providing markets continue to recover. When dividends resume the Board will assess the appropriate level of dividend to be paid.

 

Segment review

Energy

 FY-2020FY-2019FY-2019 at constant currency
Fee revenue (£m)75.7104.3103.5
Segment profit (£m)4.511.111.0
Margin (%)5.910.610.6

 

Energy started the year with a strong performance in the Operations business and, although activity in Technical Advisory was muted, fee revenue in Q1-2020 grew by 8% at constant currency. From Q2-2020 our Energy businesses were significantly affected by COVID-19 due to the global travel restrictions, resulting in 2020 segment fee revenue being down 27% at constant currency on 2019. Our flexible, associate-based employee model enabled us to reduce costs as fee revenue reduced and in June 2020, we restructured our Technical Advisory business, providing the segment with increased flexibility and resilience to offset revenue fluctuations during H2-2020. This enabled the segment to remain profitable despite the significant impact from COVID-19.

During 2020 we continued to increase our exposure to renewables, accounting for 15% of fee revenue in 2020 compared to 7.5% in 2019, thereby reducing the segment’s dependence on oil and fossil fuels. The focus on renewables and offshore wind has been supported in-house with existing expertise, where the skills are easily transferrable.

Markets will continue to be impacted in 2021 while COVID-19 travel restrictions remain in place. However, the transition to sustainable energy is creating significant opportunities for our business and fees from offshore wind are expected to continue to increase in 2021.

 

Consulting – UK and Ireland

 FY-2020 FY-2019 FY-2019 at constant currency
Fee revenue (£m) 108.0126.2126.6
Segment profit (£m) 6.315.115.1
Margin (%) 5.812.011.9

 

Since March 2020 performance in Consulting UK and Ireland has been significantly affected by COVID-19. Strong public sector demand provided some resilience to our Ireland and Northern Ireland business.

The remainder of the segment has greater exposure to private sector work and the property sector. Overall fee revenue at constant currency was down 15% on 2019 but with the trajectory improving throughout H2-2020. Careful matching of capacity to demand and the development of innovative services to help our clients emerge from COVID-19 has resulted in a profitable outturn for 2020.

Whilst we will still experience the impact of COVID-19 in 2021, there are a number of sectors where we have core strengths that are expected to outperform such as affordable residential property, health, logistics, and datacentres. Our Net Zero Carbon proposition for blue chip clients is delivering and private sector opportunities are expected to recover as the impact of COVID-19 reduces.

 

Services – UK and Netherlands

 FY-2020 FY-2019 FY-2019 at constant currency
Fee revenue (£m) 85.796.697.1
Segment profit (£m) 5.410.810.9
Margin (%) 6.311.211.2

 

As expected, the level of activity in the Water Services business in Q1-2020 was low ahead of the new AMP cycle. Whilst activity ramped up through H2-2020 this was at a slower pace than usual. Health and Laboratories and Netherlands experienced some short-term impact of COVID-19, caused by the impact of lock down and travel restrictions on our markets and specific client contracts. Overall fee revenue was down 12% at constant currency but a continued improvement in fees occurred across H2-2020 and returned to year-on-year growth in Q4-2020.

The UK water market is expected to improve through 2021, whilst in the Netherlands we have secured long term frameworks with key water boards and provinces. Our UK laboratory secured Good Laboratory Practice accreditation, which will open up new markets and should drive increased fee revenue as COVID-19 restrictions ease.

 

Norway

 FY-2020 FY-2019 FY-2019 at constant currency
Fee revenue (£m) 56.064.760.1
Segment profit (£m) 4.56.05.5
Margin (%) 8.09.39.2

 

Notwithstanding the pressure on the economy due to COVID-19 and its exposure to oil, the business delivered a solid performance, retaining its market leading position within Project and Program Management in Norway. Fee revenue improved in H2-2020, resulting in a 7% fee revenue reduction for the year as a whole at constant currency. Whilst revenue from private sector clients was lower, it was partially offset by an increasing exposure to the public sector where investment levels are good and stable. A strong focus on cost control enabled the business to deliver a good profit performance.

COVID-19 is still expected to impact the business in 2021, but activity and investment levels remain strong in the public sector with the segment well placed to benefit from this and new opportunities in emerging markets such as green technology and aquaculture.

 

North America

 FY-2020 FY-2019 FY-2019 at constant currency
Fee revenue (£m) 39.046.145.8
Segment profit (£m) 2.93.33.4
Margin (%) 7.47.27.4

 

The segment had an encouraging start with a good all-round performance in Q1-2020, during which fee revenue was up 2% at constant currency. Q2-2020 onwards was affected by the pandemic with trading mixed and the 2020 overall fee revenue for the year reduced by 15% at constant currency on 2019. Infrastructure benefited from high public sector exposure and delivered strong profit growth with improved margins. Although fee revenue growth was held back by delays in project activations in the last quarter of the year, activations have picked up in January 2021. Ocean Science delivered fee growth in the year on the back of good public sector activity. In the Environmental Risk business, subdued private equity activity in Q2-2020 reduced overall fee revenue in the year, although the business capitalised on buoyant activity in H2-2020 to deliver an improving performance in the second half. Restructuring during the year means the segment is now leaner and maintained its profit margin.

Good foundations are in place to return to growth in 2021 with a strong public sector order book to support activity in Infrastructure and Ocean Science and an enhanced sustainability offering in Environmental Risk.

 

Australia Asia Pacific

 FY-2020 FY-2019 FY-2019 at constant currency
Fee revenue (£m) 92.990.389.1
Segment profit (£m) 8.26.46.3
Margin (%) 8.87.17.1

 

The significant exposure of the segment to the public sector (over 70%), as well as the early implementation of several cost saving measures, enabled the segment to deliver solid fee revenue growth of 4% at constant currency on the prior year and improved profitability. Government stimulus spending in defence, transport infrastructure and property provided benefits across the segment. The acquisition of Corview in 2019 continues to deliver benefits, enhancing our exposure in transport and defence.

Whilst uncertainty remains due to the Australian government’s strong response to COVID-19 and the end of the property stimulus, we are well positioned to win new Federal and State government infrastructure work. An increased focus on renewables, leveraging our experience in wind and solar markets, is expected to generate benefits in H2-2021.

 

Board Change

On 30 April 2020 Gary Young stepped down from the Board as Group Finance Director and Judith Cottrell was appointed to the Board in this role.

 

Group Outlook

Looking ahead, our businesses serving government and quasi-government organisations have solid order books. Those servicing the private sector are well positioned to recover as lockdown and travel restrictions ease. Whilst the disruption of COVID-19 will continue through the first half of 2021 and the pace of recovery is uncertain, we will continue to demonstrate the resilience of our business by managing the uncertainty and taking advantage of opportunities as they arise.

With a strong cash position and significant debt facilities available, RPS is well placed to deal with any further challenges that the continuing effect of COVID-19 may bring, although as the working capital benefits of 2020 unwind and as the Group returns to growth, it will start to absorb working capital and net bank borrowings are expected to increase from current low levels.

The enduring thematics that underpin our business of urbanisation, natural resources and sustainability are becoming ever more relevant and benefiting from government stimulus and future investment. The diverse nature of RPS, coupled with our expertise and global reach, positions us well to capitalise on recovery in our end markets.

Our investment to date in people, clients and connectivity has strengthened the business and provides a stronger platform from which to deliver growth. We remain focused on building a business that can deliver mid-single digit rates of organic growth and a double-digit operating margin in the medium term and are confident about our ability to do so.

We are optimistic that the roll-out of vaccination programmes and easing of lockdowns in a number of key markets in which we operate will stimulate economic activity and demand for our range of services. We expect 2021 to be a year of progress for RPS, but with the current uncertainty over the pace of recovery, we are not resuming guidance at this time.

Board of Directors
RPS Group plc
8 March 2021

 

Consolidated income statement  Restated¹
    
 NotesYear ended
31 December
Year ended
31 December
£m 20202019
    
Revenue3542.1612.6
Less: passthrough costs2, 3(84.8)(84.4)
Fee revenue2, 3457.3528.2
    
Adjusted operating profit2, 320.543.4
    
Amortisation of acquired intangibles and transaction-related costs2, 4(5.5)(9.1)
Exceptional items2, 5(39.2)(23.4)
Operating (loss)/profit (24.2)10.9
    
Finance costs6(7.2)(6.2)
Finance income60.10.2
    
Adjusted profit before tax213.437.4
    
(Loss)/profit before tax (31.3)4.9
    
Tax credit/(expense)70.2(6.1)
Loss for the year attributable to equity holders of the parent (31.1)(1.2)
    
    
Basic loss per share (pence)8(12.95)(0.55)
    
Diluted loss per share (pence)8(12.83)(0.54)
    
Adjusted basic earnings per share (pence)2, 84.3312.43
    
Adjusted diluted earnings per share (pence)2, 84.2912.31

¹ See note 2

 

Consolidated statement of comprehensive income  
   
 Year ended
31 December
Year ended
31 December
£m20202019
   
Loss for the year(31.1)(1.2)
   
Actuarial gains and losses on remeasurement of defined benefit pension scheme  (0.1)(0.1)
Tax on remeasurement of defined benefit pension scheme--
Foreign exchange differences on translation of foreign operations*8.9(12.3)
Total other comprehensive expense8.8(12.4)
   
Total recognised comprehensive loss for the year attributable to equity holders of the parent 
 (22.3)
(13.6)
* may be reclassified to profit or loss in accordance with IFRS  

 

Consolidated balance sheet

  As at
31 December
As at
31 December
 £mNotes 20202019
Assets   
 Non-current assets:   
 Intangible assets9350.5378.7
 Property, plant and equipment 28.532.3
 Right-of-use assets 42.144.8
 Deferred tax asset 11.23.8
  432.3459.6
 Current assets:   
 Trade and other receivables10130.8157.1
 Corporation tax receivable 2.40.9
 Cash at bank 43.217.7
  176.4175.7
Liabilities   
   Current liabilities:   
   Borrowings1254.01.3
   Lease liabilities 10.810.0
   Deferred consideration143.13.1
   Trade and other payables11129.2104.9
   Corporation tax liability 3.0-
   Provisions 5.70.9
  205.8120.2
   Net current (liabilities)/assets (29.4)55.5
   Non-current liabilities:    
   Borrowings12-110.5
   Lease liabilities 38.139.8
   Deferred consideration142.75.6
   Other payables 0.21.5
   Deferred tax liability 8.46.3
   Provisions 4.52.9
  53.9166.6
   Net assets 349.0348.5
    
Equity   
 Share capital 8.36.8
 Share premium 125.3121.9
 Retained earnings 166.3195.7
 Merger reserve 38.721.2
 Employee trust (11.5)(10.1)
 Translation reserve 21.913.0

 

Total shareholders’ equity 349.0348.5

 

Consolidated cash flow statement

  Year ended
31 December
Year ended
31 December
£mNotes20202019
    
Net cash from operating activities1384.037.6
    
Cash flows from investing activities:    
Purchases of subsidiaries net of cash acquired  -(10.1)
Deferred consideration  (3.0)(0.1)
Purchase of property, plant and equipment  (5.0)(13.3)
Purchase of intangible assets (2.8)(7.8)
Proceeds from sale of assets 0.40.4
Proceeds from sale of business 0.7-
Net cash used in investing activities (9.7)(30.9)
    
Cash flows from financing activities:    
Proceeds from issue of share capital  19.4-
(Decrease)/increase in bank borrowings (55.4)23.5
Payment of bank arrangement fees (1.0)(0.7)
Payment of lease liabilities  (11.0)(9.2)
Dividends paid  -(16.9)
Net cash used in financing activities  (48.0)(3.3)
    
Net increase in cash and cash equivalents 26.33.4
    
Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of year 16.415.4
Effect of exchange rate fluctuations 0.5(2.4)
    
Cash and cash equivalents at end of year  43.216.4
    
    
Cash and cash equivalents comprise:   
Cash at bank1343.217.7
Bank overdraft13-(1.3)
    
Cash and cash equivalents at end of year  43.216.4

 

Consolidated statement of changes in equity
        
 Share
capital
Share
premium
Retained
earnings
Merger
reserve
Employee
trust
Translation
reserve
Total equity
At 1 January 20196.8120.4212.421.2(9.8)25.3376.3
        
Loss for the year--(1.2)---(1.2)
Other comprehensive expense--(0.1)--(12.3)(12.4)
Total comprehensive expense for the year--(1.3)--(12.3)(13.6)
        
Issue of new ordinary shares-1.5(0.5)-(1.0)--
Share-based payment expense--2.7---2.7
Transfer on release of shares--(0.7)-0.7--
Dividends paid--(16.9)---(16.9)
At 31 December 20196.8121.9195.721.2(10.1)13.0348.5
        
Loss for the year--(31.1)---(31.1)
Other comprehensive income/(expense)--           (0.1)--8.9       8.8
Total comprehensive income/(expense) for the year--(31.2)--8.9(22.3)
        
Issue of new ordinary shares1.53.4(0.9)17.5(2.1)-19.4
Share-based payment expense--3.4---3.4
Transfer on release of shares--(0.7)-0.7--
At 31 December 20208.3125.3166.338.7(11.5)21.9349.0