After deducting net financial expense of €20 million, income tax expense of €40 million and non-controlling interests of €9 million, recurring profit after tax came to €101 million, an increase of 4.6% from the €96 million reported in first-half 2011.Net profit, Group share ended the period at €100 million, compared with €98 million a year earlier. A SOLID FINANCIAL POSITION Funds from operations before non-recurring items (FFO) amounted to €131 million, versus €119 million in first-half 2011, representing a like-for-like increase of 14.5%, in line with the Group's normalized growth target of more than 10% a year. Dividends paid during the period amounted to a total €158 million, for a payout ratio of nearly 80% of 2011 recurring profit after tax. Net debt stood at €412 million at June 30, 2012, versus €338 million a year earlier. The ratio of adjusted funds from operations to adjusted net debt came to 40.5%, reflecting a strong investment grade rating . PERFORMANCE IN LINE WITH THE STRATEGY Edenred is pursuing its strategic plan in four key areas:
- The creation of new solutions As of end-June 2012, of the 26 new solutions planned for the July 2011-December 2012 period, 20 had been launched in Employee Benefits, Expense Management and Incentive & Rewards in both developed and emerging markets. Among these, Ticket Frete ® was launched in Brazil in late 2011 to help independent truckers to manage their travel expenses. In first-half 2012, it generated €4 million in issue volume on around 100 new contracts, representing more than 7,000 cards, of which around 25% are active.
- Geographic expansion The Group confirms its target of opening six to eight new countries between 2010 and 2016. After Finland at the end of 2011, it entered the Japanese market in July 2012 through the acquisition of Barclay Vouchers, the country's sole meal voucher issuer, which reported almost €100 million in issue volume in 2011. Today, thirteen countries are under review.
- New client gains A large number of new contracts were won during the first half, including Banco Itaú in Brazil (60,000 new beneficiaries), La Poste in France (15,000 beneficiaries), Tata Consultancy Services in India (10,000 beneficiaries), dairy company Lala in Mexico (9,000 beneficiaries), and IT consultancy Everis in Spain (6,000 beneficiaries). In all, nearly 900,000 new users began enjoying the benefits of Edenred solutions over the first half. In addition, the targeted acquisition of Comprocard in Brazil during the period consolidated the Group's leadership position in prepaid service vouchers in a strategic country, with 100,000 new beneficiaries and around €100 million in issue volume.
- Digital transition The faster transition to digital media initiated in early 2010, particularly in Europe, is delivering results and enabling the Group to confirm that 50% of total issue volume will be digital by the end of 2012. In Belgium for example, where the Ticket Restaurant ® card was introduced in late 2011, the shift is in particular supported by the country's vast network of around 7,000 affiliated merchants. In the first half, 15% of beneficiaries opted for the card, with the objective of reaching at least 20% by year-end.