- From: The Australian
- August 09, 2011
Therese Rein's thriving job placement company has re-established a presence in the Australian market 3 1/2 years after closing its local operations when her husband, Kevin Rudd, was campaigning to become prime minister.The move comes as financial documents show that Ingeus, the Rein company that was forced to focus on its overseas operations to avoid potential conflicts of interest in Australia, has stormed back into profitability.
Details lodged with the corporate regulator show Ingeus made an $18.85 million profit last year - compared with a $785,000 loss in the six months to December 31, 2009 - and paid $4.8m in dividends. The vast majority of the cash dividends flowed to Ms Rein, who founded the company and retains about 97 per cent of the shares.
The documents reveal that on Friday, Ingeus, which seeks government contracts to shift welfare recipients into work, registered a new, fully owned local arm, Ingeus Australia.
A spokeswoman for Ingeus said yesterday the group had registered an Australian arm because it was considering re-entering the local market.
"Our governance structure is such that whenever we are going to commence operations, or we are looking at commencing operations, we register a company," she said. "Ingeus's headquarters are based in Australia, and the company hasn't ruled out re-entering the Australian market."
But any local operations would be different from the Australian businesses the group ran until 2007, when Ms Rein sold the Australian arms of the group as Mr Rudd contested the federal election, which he won.
Ingeus said yesterday it would not deal with federal government contracts to prevent any perception of conflict of interest involving Mr Rudd, who is now Foreign Minister.
The group said Ingeus Australia would not undertake job placement operations, so it could honour non-compete clauses it had signed with the buyers of its two former Australian arms - Clements and WorkDirections Australia. "We have and will continue to honour all the clauses in the sale agreements, including non-compete clauses," the spokeswoman said. "We have no intention to re-enter the market we vacated in 2007."
The spokeswoman said the group had not decided what form any new Australian operations would take.
According to Ingeus's accounts, the company delivered strong results for the year to December "on the back of a number of new contracts and generally good performance in most of its subsidiaries", which include operations in Britain and France. For the year to December 31, the group earned revenues of $180m and reported equity of $34.5m.
"During the year ahead, it is expected the group will continue to grow and diversity its revenue base in international markets," the company said.
In Britain, the group's Flexible New Deal contract performed well as did a number of other contracts launched by the British government in response to the global recession.
In France, Ingeus, along with a partner, won a large contract aimed at placing mid-level executives in employment.
The fortunes of Ingeus are expected to surge in coming years, after a joint venture between the company and financial services giant Deloitte in April became the biggest winner of a round of British welfare-to-work government contracts.
Those contracts could earn the group more than $1 billion over the next five years, and have made Ingeus by far Britain's biggest provider of welfare-to-work services. The joint venture has won contracts for 23 per cent of the Conservatives-led government's welfare-to-work program. Its share of the market is bigger than that held by any other two providers combined.
Ingeus's foreign successes are partly attributable to the 2007 sale of its Australian assets, with Ms Rein saying the proceeds from those sales would be "reinvested into the growth of Ingeus internationally".