Been looking at a couple of companies, thought I'd share my research here, see if people agree with my findings:

First, Sthree.  Sthree provides staffing in the STEM industries, and has been growing steadily over the years, revenue in the last annual accounts at near double what it was in 2010 (960m vs 475m).

However, while operating profit has shown a similar jump between the years 2010 and 2016 (£20m vs £38m), that growth has not been as consistent as the revenue growth.  Revenue has grown every year, while operating profit has been up and down, being down at £16m in 2013, and peaking at £39m in 2015.

The reason for the inconsistent operating profit growth is a mixture of a downturn in the recruitment markets which occurred during the down years, and exceptional costs which were the result of investing in the continued diversification into international markets.

When a company invests in new markets there are always going to be exceptional costs, so for a growing company I would say these exceptional costs are the norm.  Also, the recruitment market is historically up and down, so I would say the inconsistent profit growth is likely a norm for this company.

So what about the dividend, this has been flat for the entire period, which is not great.  Though at the current share price the yield is around the 4% mark, which for a company with such a history of strong growth is promising.

Also, despite final year operating profit having fallen a little last year, in the first half of this year it was back on the up, with 5% growth.  And the consensus for the year ended 30 November 2017 is £42.4m, with a range of £39.3m to £45.6m.

Also, continued progress has been made on the diversification from the business's UK roots, with company CEO Gary Elden stating:

"The growing breadth and scale of our international operations, which now account for four fifths of gross profit, underline how far the Group has grown from its UK roots, with particularly strong performances in Continental Europe and the USA, which is now our second largest region.    "Our strategic focus on Contract business continues to deliver good growth across almost all regions, as well as a greater resilience in more uncertain economic conditions. Our Permanent business made good progress in…

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