SQLI, a benchmark partner for businesses and brands in the definition, implementation and management of their digital transition, reported a year of double-digit growth in 2015. This performance is yet further confirmation of the validity of the Group's strategic choices and its leadership in an extremely dynamic sector.
|€ Million - IFRS - Pre-audit data
SQLI posted a yearly turnover of €179.0 million for 2015, up 11% on the €161.6 million reported one year earlier. The Group enjoyed robust and regular organic growth throughout the year (+7%), and benefited from the integration of digital solutions agency Naxeo and the digital marketing activities of LSF Interactive at the end of 2014.
Activities regrouped under the WAX Interactive brand accounted for 34% of invoicing over the period despite the accelerated disengagement from media purchases at the end of the year (non-strategic and with a low value-added).
Another important driver for profitable growth, activity managed by SQLI's Innovation Services Centers (digital and agile services) in Bordeaux and Rabat accounted for 28% of days charged in 2015 as against a figure of 19% in 2014. Two powerful On/Off Shore platforms, the centers combine operational excellence with a competitive deployment offer for major accounts such as RTE or Nestlé.
Strong increase in profitability
2015 saw SQLI marry dynamic sales with the continuous streamlining of its operating indicators. As well as stabilizing its headcount (1,928 employees at the end of 2015 compared with 1,910 one year earlier), the Group enjoyed a substantial improvement in its rate of activity (87% in the 4th quarter alone) which increased by 4 points on 2014 to stand at 85% for the full year.
With this in mind, SQLI has confirmed its target of a strong improvement in its current operating margin in relation to the first six months of 2015 (5.1%).
Strategic development in Smart Utilities
SQLI will continue to build on vertical business offers to match client needs in 2016. Having successfully established itself with custom-fit solutions for strategic sectors such as Banking (Augmented Banking) and Commerce (Connected Commerce and Social2Cash), SQLI is to develop a new integrated Smart Utilities offer for Europe's leading energy operators for whom digital transformation is critical if they are to optimize their infrastructures, particularly in light of the surge in Smart Grid technologies and the energy transition.
The fact that SQLI’s offer is built on its first major success stories within the sector (RTE network services) makes it all the more legitimate and means it is based on invaluable feedback. The Group has also recently been selected by ErDF in consortium with Orange for a multi-annual contract for the roll-out of the Linky smart meters, and its achievements in France will act as a springboard for the deployment of the new offer on an international level.
Overseeing the new activity will be former Head of the Lyon agency, Michel Cordier, who has been appointed Vice-President in charge of Smart Utilities. Michel Cordier will be responsible for the coordination and deployment of this new transverse offer.
Towards European leadership
The first business trends for 2016 indicate that SQLI Group will maintain robust and profitable growth in what is the last year of its current strategic roadmap, notably underpinned by its established leadership in key sectors in France (Banking, Commerce, Utilities in particular).
The fact that SQLI’s leadership is built on its own expertise (in-depth understanding of the sectors involved combined with the technological watch by SQLI Lab) and the expertise derived from its acquisitions and key strategic partnerships (Adobe, Digimind, Hybris, Magento, Microsoft and Sparkow in particular), makes it an invaluable partner in the digital transformation of client processes for major Groups, notably through its connected commerce, multi-channel commerce and social commerce solutions, etc.
The company has already worked alongside some of the world's biggest brand names (Airbus, Audemars Piguet, BNP Paribas, L’Oréal, Nestlé, Pizza Hut, Roche, Seb and others) in the deployment of their digital strategies.
Drawing on its strong positioning in France and on the gradual extension of its European network towards the most dynamic markets, the Group's new medium-term development plan to be unveiled this year should allow SQLI to cement its positioning as a benchmark player in Europe. A recently-opened office in Zurich will look to develop opportunities in German-speaking Europe whilst the Group continues to benefit from the synergies and industrialization expertise of the Offshore platform in Morocco.
SQLI will also continue to consider targeted acquisitions in France and abroad.
SQLI will publish its results for 2015 on 23 March after the close of trading.