As is customary for many companies, a dividend distribution proposal is made to shareholders at the end of each fiscal year. Thus, the Esker Group has decided to increase the dividend to be distributed for fiscal year 2020. This decision is supported in particular by the better results recorded by the company last year and at the beginning of 2021. At the same time, it has raised its targets for this year.
Business document automation specialist Esker reported revenue of €31.0 million for the first quarter of 2021. The company reported a 14% increase at constant exchange rates. At current exchange rates, revenue growth was 10%.
Despite the economic situation that has prevailed around the world for several months due to the health crisis, the Group achieved its best quarter ever. In addition, the Group's financial health was good in the first three months of the year. At the end of March 2021, its cash position stood at €48.5 million.
The Group's net cash position was €34.9 million compared to €19.6 million at the same time last year. As of March 31, 2021, Esker held approximately 140,000 treasury shares. This gives the company the financial autonomy to pursue its strategy based on accelerating organic growth combined with external growth operations.
Esker's performance in 2020 in terms of revenue and earnings has allowed the company to approach fiscal year 2021 with a great deal of confidence. Also, over the past three months, its business activity has returned to a double-digit growth level.
In this favourable context, the French group believes that it will resume its policy of dynamic redistribution of results to shareholders for the past year. As a reminder, the dematerialization of management documents specialist had decided to revise downwards the dividend paid for the 2019 financial year.
This decision had been taken due to the difficult context of the health crisis. In addition, for the financial year 2020, the company's management plans to propose a 51.5% increase in the dividend to €0.50 per share. This proposal will be made at the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders scheduled to be held on June 16.
Based on the positive performance achieved in the first quarter of 2021, Esker has raised its objectives for this year. As a result, the company now expects to achieve organic growth of between 15% and 16% for the entire current fiscal year. As a result, the company's turnover is expected to reach around 130 million euros in 2021.
This sales forecast is made on the assumption that the euro/dollar exchange rate does not change by the end of the financial year. If the group achieves this level of growth, then its operating profitability should be between 12% and 15% for the full year.