SQLI reported turnover of €232 million in 2018, up 9% year on year, in line with the objective announced on November 8, 2018*. Stripping out the impact of changes in exchange rates, growth was 10% for the full-year and 4% for the fourth quarter alone.
Organic growth** edged up steadily in 2018 (up 1% in the first half, 2% in the third quarter and 4% in the fourth quarter) to reach 2% for the year as a whole.
This strong performance comes on the back of sustained growth in overseas operations (turnover up 31% over the year and up 5% in the fourth quarter), which now accounts for 35% of total Group sales (versus 29% in 2017) and a gradual improvement in France (where growth was stable for the full-year and 3% for the fourth quarter alone).
SQLI has succeeded in expanding its workforce, proving its ability to attract talent while maintaining control over its turnover. After having reported a 60-person drop in headcount in the first half of 2018, the Group recorded 109 net hires in the second half, to end the year with 49 new employees (excluding interns).
Thanks to this business growth and the gradual improvement in its other performance indicators, the Group expects to achieve an EBITDA*** margin of between 9% and 10% for 2018 (taking into account the impact of IFRS 9, IFRS 15 and IFRS 16, which is estimated at between €5 million and €6 million), versus 6.2% in 2017.
With an optimized structure and a stronger headcount, SQLI has started 2019 with confidence and anticipates another year of growth in turnover and profitability.
The Group will also continue to explore acquisition opportunities, with a focus on digital commerce specialists in Northern Europe.
SQLI will publish its 2018 results on March 26, 2019 after the close of trading.
* Annual turnover of over €230 million
** Organic growth = change in turnover at constant scope and exchange rates
*** EBITDA = recurring operating income before depreciation and amortization and provisions