Brunel Q3 2020 results

Friday, October 30, 2020

Q3 2020: Strong profitability and cash flow driven by operational discipline

Key points Q3 2020

  • EBIT showed strong increase to EUR 10 million as costs savings (24%) exceeded gross profit decline (-15%)
  • Continued cost savings and operational discipline prove agility and adaptability of business model
  • Revenue down 16% yoy excluding fx impact
  • Strong cash flow generation leads to cash position of EUR 130 million

Key points YTD 2020

  • EBIT of EUR 19 million
  • Revenue decrease ongoing business 7% (yoy) to EUR 690 million
  • Continued strong free cash flow of EUR 38 million

Jilko Andringa, CEO of Brunel International N.V.: “While the impact of COVID-19 in Q2 was less severe than expected, we experienced more pressure on our revenues in Q3. In today’s challenging environment, we continued to perform strongly through operational discipline and cost savings. Brunel colleagues around the world showed a unique combination of discipline and entrepreneurship delivering high quality creative solutions to clients while operating with increased cost awareness. This resulted in a good profitability and cash flow generation. 

We have adjusted our organization in every region and aligned it to the current activity level. We still see growth in segments like Renewable Energy and Life Science, but Automotive and Oil & Gas are hit by the global crisis. Although the duration of the pandemic is unknown, our current organization and healthy pipeline of projects makes me very comfortable that we will experience accelerated profitable growth, once travel restrictions ease and our core markets in Europe start to recover. 

In the past quarter, we celebrated our 45 years’ anniversary. Ever since Jan Brand started Brunel 45 years ago, Brunellers around the world live by our values Integrity, Passion for People, Results Driven and Entrepreneurship, making Brunel a unique company. In every downturn we have managed to find new opportunities while we achieved new records in the following upturn, giving me great confidence in the future.” 

Brunel International (unaudited)

P&L amounts in EUR million

Q3 2020

Q3 2019

Δ%

YTD 2020

YTD 2019

Δ%

Revenue

209.6

259.7

-19%

a

690.8

784.0

-12%

b

Gross Profit

47.1

55.8

-15%

143.1

161.9

-12%

Gross margin

22.5%

21.5%

20.7%

20.7%

Operating costs

37.0

48.5

-24%

c

124.2

143.0

-13%

d

EBIT

10.1

7.3

37%

18.9

18.9

0%

EBIT %

4.8%

2.8%

2.7%

2.4%

Average directs

9,599

11,225

-14%

10,464

12,273

-15%

Average indirects

1,395

1,651

-16%

1,481

1,637

-10%

Ratio direct / Indirect

6.9

6.8

7.1

7.5

a -16 % like-for-like
b -11 % like-for-like
c -22 % like-for-like
d -12 % like-for-like
Like-for-like is measured excluding the impact of currencies and acquisitions

Q3 2020 results by division

P&L amounts in EUR million

Summary:
 

Revenue

Q3 2020

Q3 2019

Δ%

YTD 2020

YTD 2019

Δ%

DACH region

54.6

74.5

-27%

177.0

217.7

-19%

The Netherlands

45.5

49.4

-8%

142.7

155.7

-8%

Australasia

26.7

31.1

-14%

85.0

88.4

-4%

Middle East & India

25.0

29.5

-15%

88.7

85.1

4%

Americas

18.4

28.1

-35%

70.0

76.2

-8%

Rest of world

39.4

44.7

-12%

126.6

120.9

5%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subtotal

209.6

257.3

-19%

690.0

744.0

-7%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BIS

0.0

2.4

-101%

0.8

40.0

-98%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total

209.6

259.7

-19%

690.8

784.0

-12%

 

EBIT

Q3 2020

Q3 2019

Δ%

YTD 2020

YTD 2019

Δ%

DACH region

6.8

10.7

-36%

10.2

23.5

-57%

The Netherlands

3.0

2.7

12%

7.8

7.0

11%

Australasia

0.1

-0.3

154%

-0.2

-1.2

87%

Middle East & India

2.0

2.6

-21%

7.1

7.7

-8%

Americas

-0.5

-0.8

37%

-1.9

-0.5

-308%

Rest of world

1.1

0.5

119%

3.0

-0.1

Unallocated

-2.0

-1.4

-40%

-6.4

-5.7

-13%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subtotal

10.5

13.9

-25%

19.6

30.8

-36%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BIS

-0.3

-6.5

94%

-0.7

-11.8

94%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total

10.2

7.3

37%

19.0

18.9

0%

 

The decrease in revenue compared to Q2 was slightly higher than expected due to the weakening of the US-dollar. The fx impact on gross profit and EBIT is minimal, since cost of sales and operating cost have a similar impact as revenue.

The productivity in DACH and the Netherlands of our specialists was at a normal level and thus higher than expected under the current circumstances. As a result, EBIT for Q3 was significantly higher than in Q2.

 

DACH region (unaudited)

P&L amounts in EUR million

Q3 2020

Q3 2019

Δ%

YTD 2020

YTD 2019

Δ%

Revenue

54.6

74.5

-27%

177.0

217.7

-19%

Gross Profit

19.6

27.1

-28%

55.2

72.5

-24%

Gross margin

35.8%

36.3%

31.2%

33.3%

Operating costs

12.8

16.4

-22%

45.0

49.0

-8%

EBIT

6.8

10.7

-36%

10.2

23.5

-57%

EBIT %

12.4%

14.3%

5.8%

10.8%

Average directs

2,019

2,717

-26%

2,200

2,713

-19%

Average indirects

432

518

-16%

475

512

-7%

Ratio direct / Indirect

4.7

5.2

4.6

5.3

 Revenue

As announced in our Q2 results, we do not yet see a recovery in the DACH region yet. Our headcount and revenue development remained stable. In August, the German government announced the extension until the end of 2021 of the short-time working scheme (Kurzarbeit). At the moment, we are still applying the short-time working scheme for 200 of our specialists.

Headcount as of September 30th was 2,007 (2019: 2,735)

Working days Germany:

 

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

FY

2020

64

59

66

65

254

2019

63

59

66

62

250

Gross profit
Due to the extension of the short-time working scheme and less holidays being taken by our specialists, our productivity remained strong and stable. The gross margin in Q3 was slightly down by 0.5 ppt, mainly due to severance cost. The YTD gross margin adjusted for working days was 30.9% (2019: 33.3%).


Operating costs
In Q3 the operating costs decreased by 22% mainly due to cost saving initiatives and restructuring initiatives implemented in Q2. Throughout the quarter, we also applied the short-time working scheme for a small group of our internal employees. We have ended this at the end of Q3.

Brunel Netherlands (unaudited)

P&L amounts in EUR million

Q3 2020

Q3 2019

Δ%

YTD 2020

YTD 2019

Δ%

Revenue

45.5

49.4

-8%

142.7

155.7

-8%

Gross Profit

12.4

13.8

-10%

37.9

42.1

-10%

Gross margin

27.2%

27.9%

26.6%

27.0%

Operating costs

9.4

11.1

-15%

30.1

35.1

-14%

EBIT

3.0

2.7

12%

7.8

7.0

11%

EBIT %

6.5%

5.4%

5.5%

4.5%

Average directs

1,844

2,172

-15%

1,919

2,277

-16%

Average indirects

327

405

-19%

346

417

-17%

Ratio direct / Indirect

5.6

5.4

5.6

5.5

Revenue
The revenue trend remained stable in Q3, as a result of a decrease in the number of specialists, partly offset by higher rates. The decline was across all business lines except for Legal, in which we continued to achieve growth.

Headcount as of September 30th was 1,835 (2019: 2,155)

Working days Netherlands:

 

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

FY

2020

64

60

66

65

255

2019

63

62

66

64

255

 

Gross Profit
The gross margin was down 0.7 ppt in Q3. This is the result of an increase in the proportion of freelancers, who have a lower margin compared to own employees. The YTD gross margin adjusted for working days decreased by 0.1 ppt to 26.9%.

Operating costs
In Q3 the operating costs decreased by EUR 1.7 million, as a result of cost saving initiatives, including a reduction of indirect headcount executed in Q2.

 

Australasia (unaudited)

P&L amounts in EUR million

Q3 2020

Q3 2019

Δ%

YTD 2020

YTD 2019

Δ%

Revenue

26.7

31.1

-14%

a

85.0

88.4

-4%

b

Gross Profit

2.4

2.6

-6%

7.2

7.3

-1%

Gross margin

9.0%

8.3%

8.4%

8.2%

Operating costs

2.3

2.9

-21%

c

7.4

8.5

-13%

d

EBIT

0.1

-0.3

154%

-0.2

-1.2

87%

EBIT %

0.5%

-0.8%

-0.2%

-1.4%

Average directs

936

906

3%

1,012

907

12%

Average indirects

80

86

-7%

82

85

-4%

Ratio direct / Indirect

11.7

10.5

12.4

10.7

 a -12 % like-for-like
b -0 % like-for-like
c -19 % like-for-like
d -11 % like-for-like
Like-for-like is measured excluding the impact of currencies and acquisitions

Revenue
Following a stable Q2, Australasia, which includes Australia and Papua New Guinea, has seen some impact of COVID-19 in Q3. Clients terminate contracts, are looking for salary reductions and a reduction of working hours (overtime) to achieve cost savings. Our activities in PNG continue to be hindered by the travel restrictions.

Gross Profit
The increased gross margin is the result of a change in the mix due to the lower revenue at Oil & Gas clients.

Operating costs
In Q3, the operating costs decreased by 21% as a result of continued cost saving initiatives. These cost savings helped us achieve a positive result for the quarter.

 

Middle East & India (unaudited)

P&L amounts in EUR million

Q3 2020

Q3 2019

Δ%

YTD 2020

YTD 2019

Δ%

Revenue

25.0

29.5

-15%

a

88.7

85.1

4%

b

Gross Profit

4.1

5.1

-20%

14.5

15.0

-4%

Gross margin

16.2%

17.2%

16.3%

17.7%

Operating costs

2.1

2.5

-16%

c

7.4

7.3

1%

d

EBIT

2.0

2.6

-21%

7.1

7.7

-8%

EBIT %

8.0%

8.6%

8.0%

9.1%

Average directs

2,089

2,605

-20%

2,435

3,411

-29%

Average indirects

130

142

-9%

139

136

2%

Ratio direct / Indirect

16.1

18.3

17.5

25.0

 a -8 % like-for-like
b 6 % like-for-like
c -12 % like-for-like
d 2 % like-for-like
Like-for-like is measured excluding the impact of currencies and acquisitions

Revenue
Following a positive development in Q2, the revenues in the Middle East & India were impacted by the weakening of the US dollar. Our strong development is hampered by our ability to mobilize specialists for new projects due to travel restrictions, whilst some of the existing projects are finalized. This resulted in a decrease in headcount and revenue for the period. Our pipeline continues to be healthy. 

Gross Profit

The gross margin reduced somewhat due to a change in the mix of clients and some margin pressure.

Operating costs
Even though we still experienced growth in Q2, we started adapting the organisation in Middle East &  India, anticipating the impact of the travel restrictions. Further cost measures lead to a decrease in operating costs of 16%.

 

Americas (unaudited)

P&L amounts in EUR million

Q3 2020

Q3 2019

Δ%

YTD 2020

YTD 2019

Δ%

Revenue

18.4

28.1

-35%

a

70.0

76.2

-8%

b

Gross Profit

2.2

3.6

-38%

7.9

9.4

-16%

Gross margin

12.1%

12.7%

11.3%

12.4%

Operating costs

2.7

4.4

-39%

c

9.8

9.9

-1%

d

EBIT

-0.5

-0.8

37%

-1.9

-0.5

-308%

EBIT %

-2.7%

-2.8%

-2.8%

-0.6%

Average directs

689

886

-22%

771

846

-9%

Average indirects

103

131

-21%

109

128

-15%

Ratio direct / Indirect

6.7

6.8

7.1

6.6

a -26 % like-for-like
b -4 % like-for-like
c -31 % like-for-like
d 3 % like-for-like
Like-for-like is measured excluding the impact of currencies and acquisitions

Revenue
Our activities in the US continue to be the most impacted by COVID-19 within our group, following a significant number of terminations at our clients. The devaluation of the US Dollar and Brazilian Real significantly impacted the revenue development in the region.

Gross Profit
Just like in the previous quarter, the gross margin and gross profit were impacted by a lower recruitment revenue. Adjusted for the impact of the lower recruitment revenue, the gross margin was at the same level as in Q3 2019.

Operating costs
The operating costs further decreased and are now 14% lower than in Q2, while we had also seen a 20% decline in Q2 compared to the previous quarter. This is largely the result of the full effect of the cost saving measures taken in that quarter.

Rest of world (unaudited)

P&L amounts in EUR million

Q3 2020

Q3 2019

Δ%

YTD 2020

YTD 2019

Δ%

Revenue

39.4

44.7

-12%

a

126.6

120.9

5%

b

Gross Profit

6.5

7.4

-12%

20.5

19.1

7%

Gross margin

16.6%

16.6%

16.2%

15.8%

Operating costs

5.4

6.9

-22%

c

17.5

19.2

-9%

d

EBIT

1.1

0.5

119%

3.0

-0.1

2356%

EBIT %

2.7%

1.1%

2.4%

-0.1%

Average directs

2,022

1,803

12%

2,107

1,813

16%

Average indirects

261

288

-9%

267

285

-6%

Ratio direct / Indirect

7.7

6.3

7.9

6.4

a -6 % like-for-like
b 7 % like-for-like
c -17 % like-for-like
d -7 % like-for-like
Like-for-like is measured excluding the impact of currencies, acquisitions and discontinued operations

Revenue
Rest of World includes Russia & Caspian, Belgium and Asia. We still managed to achieve growth in China, but saw a decline in the other regions. The pipeline for Asia and Russia remains very healthy, but again this will only materialize once travel restrictions ease. 

Gross Profit
The gross margin in the region in Q3 was in line with Q3 2019.

Operating costs
The operating costs in the rest of world decreased as a result of government relief plans in Asia and cost saving initiatives throughout the regions. As a result, EBIT for the quarter increased to EUR 1.1 million.

Cash position

In the first nine months of this year, we achieved a strong free cash flow of EUR 38 million. This results in a cash position of EUR 130 million (30 September 2019: EUR 82 million).

Outlook for 2020

At the moment, the headcount in DACH and the Netherlands is pretty stable, and we expect the normal seasonal pattern in the remainder of Q4. 
For all other regions, we are still hindered by travel restrictions. With the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in many regions, we do not expect these to ease significantly in the remainder of the year. Although we have a healthy pipeline, this will delay the start and the contribution of new projects we have secured.
In line with our normal seasonality, revenue and profitability in Q4 will be lower than in Q3.