November 21, 2019 – It’s been a good year for Caldwell. The Toronto-based executive search firm has just posted fourth quarter revenues of $21 million (all dollar figures Canadian), an 11 percent increase from a year ago when the firm recorded revenues of $18.7 million. Full year revenues rose by 7.9 percent, from $66.5 last year to $72.1 million.
Fourth quarter net loss was $954,000 ($0.047 per share) in 2019, as compared to earnings of $348,000 ($0.018 per share) in the comparable period a year earlier. The full year net earnings after tax were $325,000 ($0.016 per share) in 2019, versus $2,015,000 ($0.099 per share) in 2018.
“This was another record year for Caldwell,” said John Wallace, chief executive officer. “After a slow start to the year, the team performed an incredible turn-around and delivered a solid second half and a phenomenal fourth quarter – our strongest to date. We are experiencing continuing strength in our bookings and feel that we’re very well positioned as we head into fiscal 2020.”
“Our reported annual operating profit of $1.6 million was appreciably dampened by two fourth quarter expenses — a $1.5 million non-cash goodwill impairment charge in the U.K. and a $0.3 million New York municipal tax assessment related to prior years,” Mr. Wallace said. “In addition, we incurred U.K. operating losses (excluding the goodwill write down) of $1.7 million for the year, up from $0.5 million last year. These factors masked an otherwise strong performance from our Caldwell team.”
“Relative to the goodwill impairment, our U.K. operation has had ongoing challenges in expanding revenue and earnings,” Mr. Wallace said. “We remain committed to the U.K. becoming a sustainable and profitable contributor to the Caldwell brand and are pleased to see improvement in new business booking and business development activity early in fiscal 2020 as individuals transition into the firm and non-solicitation periods run their course. We continue to consider Europe to be strategically important, but with a sustained period of operating losses, our goodwill balance could not be supported, resulting in the impairment charge.”
The board of directors also declared the payment of a quarterly dividend of 2.25 cents per common share payable to holders of common shares of record on Nov. 27 and to be paid on Dec. 19.
New Look Board
Caldwell also announced that its chairman, G. Edmund King, is retiring and that new board member and private equity veteran Elias Vamvakas has been elected as chairman. Newly elected Mr. Vamvakas will also serve as a member of the audit committee, investment committee and nominating/corporate governance/compensation committee of the board. He is chairman, CEO and founder of Greybrook Capital, a private equity firm focused on real estate and healthcare. Mr. Vamvakas is also chairman of Greenbrook-TMS NeuroHealth centers and TearLab Corp.
Recruiting Sector Jumps 13.9 Percent
A constricting labor market with low unemployment means companies are struggling to find qualified talent. When the right people are found, the costs associated with hiring them are rising, making a lengthy onboarding process now the rule, not the exception.
Caldwell also elected John Young to the board, pending the approval of shareholders. Mr. Young is CEO of Boat Rocker Media, a global entertainment company. He is also serves as vice chair on the board of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. He is a member of the boards of Golf Town, Sporting Life and Toys R Us. Mr. Young is also the chairman of the board of Feeding Canadian Kids.
“Elias and John are outstanding additions to our board,” said Mr. Wallace. “We are excited about the unique expertise, depth of leadership and comprehensive business experience they bring, as we continue to evolve and lead the organization forward. We are confident they will provide valuable perspective and insight as we execute our strategy, drive profitability and enhance value for all Caldwell shareholders.”
“As ever, we are focused on bolstering our ability to help clients to thrive and succeed by helping them identify, recruit and retain the best people,” said Mr. Wallace. “We continue to make strategic additions to our partner teams in key sectors and geographies, and look for additional ways to expand the services we provide to assist our clients in hiring the right people, then managing and inspiring them to achieve maximum business results as quickly as possible.”
Shares in Caldwell were priced at $1.26 upon the release of its numbers, 10.5 percent above its 52-week low of $1.14 on July 3. The company has a current market cap of $25.7 million.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media