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Operating income increased by 9.8%. Positive cash position of 30m Euros

2004 results

On 6 April 2005, the STERIA GROUP SCA supervisory board examined the consolidated accounts submitted by the Management for the year ended 31 December 2004.

For a table of results, visit:
http://www.steria.com/press/releaseresultsannual04.htm

These results reflect the following key developments:
A further improvement in operating profit by 9.8% for the group as a whole, giving a return on sales of 4.2% over the full-year, and of 4.9% in the second half. This result was essentially driven by a sharp increase in the return on sales in France (6.7% vs. 3.5% in 2003, before headquarters expenses) and an increase in the UK (8.8% vs. 8.5% in 2003, before headquarters expenses).
A further consolidation of the group's financial structure: as of 31 December 2004, the group's consolidated shareholders' equity amounted to 222m Euros (+11% vs. 31 December 2003). During 2004, the group's net cash position improved significantly to 30m Euros compared with 2m Euros at the end of December 2003.

Dividend distribution
Continuing its dividend policy, the supervisory board has proposed a dividend of 0.25 Euros per share. The dividend will be distributed on 9 July 2005. This proposition reflects the confidence of the group's supervisory board and management in the capacity of the STERIA Group to pursue its development while improving its profitability.

2004 Highlights
During 2004, the STERIA Group significantly consolidated its market position within the TOP- 10 European IT Services companies. This was achieved by a) leveraging its new status as a Europe-wide global services provider to reinforce its relationships with major clients, b) realising a strategic alliance in Germany, c) improving operating profitability, despite the embedded prices unfavourable impact, and d) pursuing the contraction of its product activities in certain countries.

On a country by country basis, 2004 saw the following positive developments:

In France, the company posted organic growth of 8.1% (noticeably better than the market's growth) and a sharp improvement in operating profitability. The nomination of François Mazon as Managing Director France and the organisation of a new unified structure will accelerate this momentum. In the United Kingdom, the rebalancing of the activity portfolio is well underway with a 26% growth of the Systems Integration business during 2004. The UK operations also posted a further improvement in operating profitability to 8.8%.

In Germany, the strategic alliance with MUMMERT Consulting, concluded in December 2004 and effective as of has allowed the Group to achieve critical mass in Europe's largest domestic market and has propelled the STERIA Group into the Top-10 on the German IT Services market. The new structure has been operational since January 2005.

In other European countries, the group has managed to post a significant positive growth of its services revenue (+8%) despite a market which remained in decline. The contraction of the Group's product activities continued (-20m Euros).

Outlook
In the context of a gradual recovery of the IT Services sector and of a re-absorption of over-capacities in Europe, the STERIA Group will be able to take full advantage of its new global player status member of the Top-10 and of a radical transformation achieved during three years of IT market crisis to adapt itself to meet the demands of large customers. According to its strategic plan, the STERIA Group confirms its priority target of an operating profitability above 7% in 2006. In effect, the STERIA Group is today fully-equipped to provide complete and global solutions to the latest requirements of its major clients: outsourcing, major contracts with commitments to results, European frame agreements.

Thus for 2005, STERIA Group's Management is confident that it will generate organic growth above the market's growth, exploit further synergies from its alliance with MUMMERT Consulting in Germany, and accelerate the improvement of operating margin.


The STERIA Group will post its revenues for the first quarter of 2005 on Wednesday 11 May 2005.


Steria is listed on Euronext Paris, Eurolist (Compartment B)
ISIN: FR0000072910, Bloomberg Code: RIA FP, Reuters Code: TERI.PA
Euronext 150, SBF 120, IT CAC 50, MIDCAC
For further information, visit our website: http://www.steria.com

For more information, contact:
Casey Balkham/Claire Dell
Pleon
Tel: +44 (0)20 7298 7043/7046
Mail to: casey.balkham@pleon.com/claire.dell@pleon.com

Investor Relations:
Yves Rouilly
Tel: +33 1 34 88 61 95 /
+33 6 09 48 08 83
yves.rouilly@steria.com

Press relations
Antoine Pernod
Tel: +33 1 34 88 94 95 /
+33 6 17 64 29 39
antoine.pernod@steria.com

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Pleon in the following categories: Consumer Technology, Personal Finance, Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit https://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.