Updates from Serco, Meggitt and Regus
Elsewhere, sentiment was more positive with the Dow Jones finishing +0.27% higher at 14,127. Overnight, Asian stocks recovered with the Nikkei 225 rising to 11,683.
We commence with full 2012 numbers from outsourcer giant Serco (border controls, prisons, leisure centres - a long list). Serco claims revenue growth of 5.7% to £4.9bn with adjusted operating profit growth of 9.9%. There's a proposed 2012 total dividend of 10.10p up 20% reflecting a revised policy to accelerate dividend growth.
Serco claims growth prospects further underpinned by entry into new countries, services and private sector industries and decent revenue visibility (92% for 2013, 79% for 2014 and 70% for 2015).
"We entered new markets, we built more capabilities and we established a global BPO business," says chief exec Christopher Hyman. "Our unique breadth and depth leaves us strongly positioned to meet the growing demand from around the world for our skills and services."
Next, global engineering business Meggitt. Operating profits climb +10% to £394.3m while underlying earnings per share rise +13% to 36.2p. Net debt is slashed by 19%, giving a net debt/EBITDA ratio of 1.3x (2011: 1.7x) driven by a year of strong cash generation.
Meggitt's Pacific Scientific Aerospace acquisition continues to trade in line with expectations the company claims. The Group expects an organic revenue growth of +6 to +7% on average over the medium term, with mid-single-digit growth in 2013.
"As a sign of our continuing confidence in the prospects for the Group, we are recommending an increase in the full-year dividend of 12%," said chief exec Terry Twigger. Yesterday the company had its Buy rating reaffirmed by Bank of America.
Lastly, final 2012 figures for office player Regus. There's revenue growth of 9.2% at constant currency to £1,244.1m (2011: £1,162.6m) while operating profit soars 66% to £90.2m (2011: £54.5m). There's a proposed 10% increase in full year dividend to 3.2p (2011: 2.9p).
Earnings per share are up to 7.5p, representing a 74% increase from last year (2011: 4.3p). Regus claims a "strong" year end net cash position of £120m which, together with credit facility of £200m, provides additional scope for growth it says.
"We continue to focus on improving margins," says chief exec Mark Dixon, "in our Mature business and investing in new locations. We remain on track to achieve a global network of at least 2,000 locations by the end of 2014, and our recent acquisition of a majority interest in MWB Business Exchange further supports this goal."