By Jon Moynihan, Executive Chairman
PA – another record year
In 2008, despite the uncertainty in the world economy, PA delivered a strong performance during a great first half, combined with a second half where we managed to continue to do well despite the general downturn in the economy. We can all be proud of the full year's result, which came about because of: our understanding that our clients' success is the only thing that we can rely on to ensure our success; our focus on ensuring that we recruit only the best consultants; the dedication of our people; and our strong operating discipline. These all contributed to another best-yet result for PA, at a time when many organisations – and a number of our competitors – have struggled.
Our share price at the end of 2007 was £7.27. During the year, we demerged our ventures business, Ipex, in essence spinning off £2.93 per share – so that the equivalent share value of the remaining PA Consulting company was £4.34. The share price of the remaining PA Consulting business is, for year end 2008, £6.88. This represents an increase, for this part of the business, of some 59%. While there are various particular reasons for the large size of that, such as the settlement of some long-running tax issues, the shrinkage of the share base that took place during the demerger and the fact that PA no longer has a drain on profits from spend on ventures, this represents another excellent result – on which I congratulate all of our people.
While the world's stock exchanges are in turmoil with values impacted by market sentiment and debt market exposure, our debt free balance sheet (at the end of 2008, PA's available cash reserves reached some £192 million) and net assets-calculated share price have succeeded so far in insulating our share price from such uncontrollable, market-driven fluctuations. Although 2009 will undoubtedly be a tough year, and we are unlikely to have such a great full year result as 2008, our performance in the first two months of 2009 has been satisfactory, and PA's Board sees it as its duty to seek to continue to achieve strong share price performance.
The excellent 2008 result for PA, our people and our shareholders reflects the significant progress we made in continuing to build this world-class firm of ours.
Note: These financial highlights do not contain sufficient information to allow for a full understanding of the results of the Group and state of affairs of the Company or of the Group. For further information, the full annual financial statements, the auditors’ report on those financial statements and the Directors’ Report should be consulted. These financial highlights are not audited and do not constitute statutory financial statements as defined by section 240 of the Companies Act 1985. The financial information included in these financial highlights has been extracted from the PA Consulting Group Limited financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2008, on which the auditors gave an unqualified opinion, did not include an emphasis of matter reference and did not include a statement under section 237(2) or (3) of the Companies Act 1985. The PA Consulting Group Limited financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2008 have been filed with the Registrar of Companies.