Randstad will report its 2Q13 results on 25 July before marketsopen and host an analyst meeting at 10am. We are more positive than consensus on the top-line and REBITA, while our adjusted net profit forecast is well in line.
We are looking for € 4,188m sales in 2Q13 (€ 4,137m consensus). European staffing markets (except for Spain) have yet to recover while the North-American staffing market remains robust. As Manpower said last Friday, Europe has yet to right itself. As a result, Randstad’s organic sales decline is only expected to improve from -4% in 1Q13 to -2% in 2Q13 (-3% consensus).
The gross margin has been under pressure since the beginning of 2009 and we don’t expect any improvement in the short term. The increase in the gross margin in North America enabled by the focus on client profitability and in France thanks to the CICE payroll tax credits, is not expected to offset the declines in the rest of Europe. We expect the gross margin to decline by 20bps y/y to 18.0% (18.0% consensus) in 2Q13 and by 10bps y/y to 18.1% in 3Q13 (18.0% consensus). This leads to a gross profit forecast of € 752m (€ 744m consensus) in 2Q13.
With operational expenses of € 609m (€ 608m consensus), REBITA is expected to come in at € 143m (€ 136m consensus). The REBITA margin is expected to improve from 3.1% in 2Q12 to 3.4% in 2Q13 (3.3% consensus). Our adjusted net profit forecast of € 90m is only a shade over the € 89m consensus.
Investment case.Given that the stock has rallied by more than 30% since the beginning of the year and has reached our target price, we downgrade our rating from Accumulate to Hold and slightly increase our DCF-based target price from € 35 to € 36.