London: An interim management statement from Management Consulting Group PLC (MCG) gives some grounds for optimism, despite difficult trading conditions for both its consulting businesses, Alexander Proudfoot and Kurt Salmon.
The statement runs, "Alexander Proudfoot's performance in the first half of 2013, relative to 2012, is expected to show the impact of a slower start to the year. However recent levels of input have been encouraging and there is a good pipeline of prospects at this stage of the year.
"Kurt Salmon's operations in North America and Asia continue to perform well. In France, as expected, activity levels have continued to be affected by macroeconomic weakness in the Eurozone. Kurt Salmon's operations elsewhere in Europe are making good progress. We will continue to actively manage our resource levels in those areas of the business affected by weakness in market demand, while focusing investment and recruitment on geographies where there are better opportunities for growth.
"The first half of the year is typically not cash generative as a result of the timing of the payment of the Group's annual bonuses from the previous financial year, and net indebtedness is expected to increase at the 2013 half year compared to the end of 2012, as in previous years."
On 30 October 2012 MCG announced that it intended to commence a share buy-back programme to make market purchases of its ordinary shares of up to £5m over the succeeding twelve months. Up to 17 April 2013 the Company had purchased 1,856,772 of its ordinary shares for a total consideration of £0.5m.
Subject to shareholder approval at today's Annual General Meeting, the final dividend of 0.595 pence per share will be paid on 2 July 2013 to shareholders on the register on 17 May.
Nick Stagg, Chief Executive, commented, "Although Proudfoot had a slow start to the year, as previously indicated, we have seen much improved activity levels in the last two months. Kurt Salmon is performing well in North America and Asia, but continues to face weak demand in France. In spite of continuing macroeconomic uncertainty we believe that MCG remains well positioned to benefit from its global coverage and sector focus."