SQLI generated turnover of €62.0 million in the first quarter of 2019, up 7.3% in organic terms on the first three months of 2018, despite a negative calendar effect (estimated impact of 1.2 points). At constant exchange rates, growth came in at 7.1%. Therefore, the Group generated organic growth for a 23rd consecutive quarter, confirming the growth momentum initiated in 2018 (up 1% in the first and second quarters, 2% in the third quarter, and 3% in the fourth quarter of 2018).
This dynamic sales performance was underpinned by the Group’s sustained international development (up 11.7%), which accounted for 36% of consolidated revenues in first-quarter 2019 (versus 34% in first-quarter 2018). Northern Europe confirmed its role as an important contributor to profitable growth, while Spain (57 employees at end-March 2019) established itself as a promising growth driver, both as a digital help desk (Barcelona) and a sales office (Valencia).
Sales performance in France was up 2.7% in line with the Group’s expectations and the focus on improving the financial performance.
Since the start of the year SQLI has renewed two multi-annual contracts with key accounts, Airbus Group and Nestlé, who have placed their trust in the Group for the past 19 years and 11 years, respectively. The Group also joined forces with Alpenite, the leading Salesforce Commerce Cloud integrator in Italy, to form Invent Commerce, the first 100% Salesforce multi-cloud agency in France*, with 120 shared employees.
Thanks to the ongoing recruitment drive and management of the turnover rate (26.4%), which has stabilized at market levels, SQLI saw its headcount increase in first-quarter 2019 to 2,263 employees (excl. Interns) at end-March, compared with 2,238 at end-December 2018, rising above the 1,000 employee mark outside France. The employment rate was stable year on year, at 83.1%. The Group is therefore creating the means to confidently pursue its development.
On the back of solid growth in Q1 2019, the Group confirmed its 2019 full-year objectives.
Hervé de Beublain, who agreed to take up the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors on a transitional basis in October 2018, informed the members of the Board of Directors of his decision to resign as Chairman of the Board at the close of the next Shareholders' General Meeting, to be held on June 27, 2019. At the Board’s request, Hervé de Beublain has agreed to remain the company director and will therefore continue to provide his experience and knowledge of the Group to the Board of Directors.
The Board of Directors will propose the appointment of Philippe Donche-Gay as director at the Shareholders' General Meeting of June 27, 2019. Subject to this appointment, Philippe Donche-Gay should be appointed as Chairman at the Board meeting to be held following the Shareholders’ General Meeting.
After graduating from Ecole Polytechnique and Stanford University in California, Philippe Donche-Gay began his career at IBM in 1982. In 1994, he joined the management of Capgemini and participated in the creation of Capgemini Telecom & Media, of which he became Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in 2001. In 2004, he was appointed CEO of Capgemini France, and in 2007 CEO of Capgemini Western Europe. In 2008, he became the head of operations of Bureau Veritas. He was appointed Executive Vice President of the Marine & Offshore Division in 2013, and Group Deputy CEO in 2017, a position he held until the beginning of 2019.
SQLI will publish its turnover for the first half of 2019 on July 25, 2019 after the close of trading.
* See press release of March 6, 2019: “Signature of a joint venture between SQLI and Alpenite”