Interview with "Le Directoire"

Interview with

With an anual average of 4.433 employees and a revenue of more than 294M€ in the 2013 - 2014 period, SII Group has continued to grow and expand in its core markets thanks to the good performance improved during its more than 35 years experience. Like every year, the Group's Management Board (Jean-Paul Chevée, Patrice Demay and Eric Matteucci) explains its particular vision of the last year of the company.

How do you view your Group’s performance in fiscal 2013-2014?

Before discussing the Group’s results, mention should be made of the general economic environment in which we operated. In France, our leading market, where we do 68% of our total business, 2013 was again a difficult period for our sector. We depend on our customers’ investments in technology and the trend during the period was for capital projects to decline in our main markets. Outside France, the situation is currently more encouraging and we have been taking advantage of this growth opportunity.
Under the circumstances, we managed to achieve all of the goals we had set for ourselves. They included positive organic growth, improved returns and an increase in the share of revenue accounted for by international operations.

In France, business declined for the first time in many years. Still, we have a number of reasons to be pleased with the period. The Group managed to hold on to all of its accounts and even secured new customers. Our business is continuing to move in the direction of solutions with more value added and this strengthens our relationship with customers. All of this was made possible thanks to the full involvement of our staff, which helped us make the most of each opportunity.

Our international business continued to grow by more than 20 percent on a like-for-like basis, with almost every operation contributing to this performance. This has made it possible for us to bolster our positions with our principal customers and to land new accounts. It is also an incentive for further developing our offer of “delivery” solutions and working in close technological cooperation with clients. Here again, we must acknowledge our staff’s role in making this possible.

All of this resulted in sales for the year of €294.2 million, organic growth of 3.3 percent and international operations that account for 32% of revenue. Operating income improved to €20.9 million.

What is your growth strategy?

Our strategy relies on four basic notions:

We provide services to our customers wherever they operate. A balance must be struck between our proximity to projects and the global expansión of our customers. In this connection, we are now present on four continents, through forty-five separate offices. This anticipated expansion will continue as new opportunities arise.

We provide our customers with technological support. We continue to add to our line of services in order to make new expertise and future technologies available to our customers. We must ceaselessly invent what will become an intrinsic part of the value added that can benefit our customers.

We invest in methods and develop expertise. We play a part in bringing about change, working with our customers to help them incorporate available new technology into their products, services and information systems on the best possible operating conditions and financial terms.

We ensure that the SII Group makes a lasting contribution to its social environment through socially responsible corporate policies that place a priority on people ahead of organizations, through our active involvement in associations working for the development and improvement of the industry, and through stable corporate governance for the Group.

What are your objectives for fiscal 2014-2015?

Even though conditions are slowly improving, the general economic context is not going to change radically in the next twelve months. We must accordingly set our objectives further back, build for a more distant future, while remaining confident in our sector, which is at the forefront of technological change. The issues at stake for our clients as well as for the world as a whole provide countless digital technology opportunities for our sector.

We have not announced any quantitative targets for fiscal 2014-2015 other than the share of total revenue accounted for by international operations, which ought to exceed 35 percent.

Nevertheless, we are confident of our ability to continue along our current path and achieve profitable organic growth in the coming period.

Are you planning to hire personnel to achieve your objectives?

This year, the Group as a whole will again hire between 1,200 and 1,500 consultants, consisting of both experienced professionals and starting engineers in various technological fields.

What is your cash position?

Our cash position is sound. In fiscal 2013-2014, operations generated a net cash flow of €14.3 million, or almost twice as much as the previous year. We have the capacity to finance our own capital expenditure and financial investments. Accordingly, we are in a position to continue financing our Group’s development

What about acquisitions?

At the start of fiscal 2014-2015 we made a new acquisition in Germany that will expand our technological services to the aviation sector as well as increase our presence in that country. Although our corporate culture is primarily based on organic growth, we are always on the lookout for opportunities that can contribute to the SII Group’s strategic expansion.