Empresaria, the global specialist staffing group, provides the market with an update on trading for the current financial year ending 31 December 2020.
The Group has continued to demonstrate the financial benefits of its diversity by both geography and sector through the third quarter and the first part of the fourth quarter. Having delivered profits in the first quarter and in the second quarter under extremely challenging circumstances, the Group has continued to progress in the second half delivering profits in each month to date (adjusted profit before tax). Evidence of recovery is being seen across many parts of the Group but this remains slow in some cases and local conditions can be volatile as each location reacts to the ongoing impact from coronavirus.
We have continued to accelerate our key operational changes and improvements to ensure the Group is well positioned for the future. Alongside this, we have also progressed our investment in our front office systems including Bullhorn as our core technology platform, and we expect to see further benefits from these changes as we move through 2021. Our stronger together initiatives have continued to be a driver in uniting the Group behind both groupwide projects and localised change.
While protecting key investments, cost control has continued to be a priority as we navigate the current environment. Costs have increased over recent months as usage of furlough or similar schemes has reduced and demand has started to return, but this has been managed against increases in net fee income to ensure that the Group is able to deliver improved profit performance.
We anticipate that the Group’s full year net fee income will be in the range of £52m to £55m and adjusted profit before tax is expected to be in the range of £4.4m to £4.9m. At 30 October adjusted net debt was £11.4m, the increase from 30 June primarily reflecting the repayment of certain tax liabilities which were deferred in the second quarter of 2020 and the impact of increased working capital requirements as net fee income has improved. We would expect net debt to continue to return towards pre-COVID levels as net fee income recovers. Headroom remains strong at £17.6m excluding invoice financing facilities (30 June 2020 £18.1m).
The Group expects to provide a further update on trading for the year ended 31 December 2020 in January 2021.