Belfast Telegraph

John Simpson's Company Snapshot: Grafton Recruitment

By John Simpson

Grafton Recruitment is probably the largest employment recruitment agency company operating in Northern Ireland. In the last four years, turnover has more than doubled and has increased steadily year by year.

The company facilitates the recruitment and employment of several thousand people each year and operates on an international scale.

The company owns 24 subsidiary companies all registered outside Northern Ireland across Europe and further afield.

Operating profits have been recorded in each recent year although in 2007-8 the total fell by 29%. Operating profits last year were just under 2% of turnover which is less impressive than the previous year when the ratio was nearer to 4%. The company has significant levels of bank borrowing, when assessed relative to working capital. The interest bill in 2007-8, at £855,000, related to borrowing of nearly £10m.

The owners retain most post-tax profits to add to reserves and as a result the balance sheet value of shareholders funds has increased each year. Shareholders funds, at £7.7m in March 2008 were nearly £1m higher than a year earlier. Pre-tax profits were 31% of shareholders funds, down from the record value of 57% in 2006-7.

Direct employment in the group has risen more recently to average 889 people. This is more than double the 421 people employed four years ago.

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