Barrett Business Services adds 187 clients

Barrett Business Services Inc., the Vancouver-based supplier of staffing and outsourced human resources services, said Wednesday it added 187 clients in the April-to-June period — the best second-quarter new-client haul in the company’s history.

The company raked in second-quarter net revenue of $151.1 million, up 17 percent from $128.8 million in the three-month period ending in June 2013. Barrett also recorded a second-quarter profit of $7.3 million. That’s up 24 percent from a profit of $5.9 million in the same year-ago period.

“We’ve made significant progress in all areas since the beginning of 2014,” Michael Elich, the company’s president and CEO, said during the company’s earnings conference call Wednesday. “We continue to see positive momentum with new markets opened.”

During the earnings call, Jeff Martin, a senior research analyst for California-based Roth Capital Partners, noted that Barrett’s addition of 187 clients was the “best second-quarter adds you’ve ever had.” And the wave of new clients is “a good indicator for some revenue growth acceleration,” he added, “maybe two or three quarters out.”

Barrett has more than 3,000 clients in more than 20 states. Incorporated in 1965, it is a pioneer of “professional employer organization” services. Under that system, Barrett becomes a co-employer of a client’s workforce, handling human resources responsibilities, including workers’ compensation claims.

The company’s clients include small and midsized companies in a variety of industries, including telecommunications, transportation and shipping, manufacturing and food processing.

Jim Miller, chief financial officer, said the company continues to grow and gain brand recognition in the marketplace. And it maintains a 90 percent or higher client-retention rate, he said.

“We remain well-positioned to deliver another strong year for our shareholders,” Miller said.

The company’s sales, general and administrative expenses — which include costs associated with such things as running an office, advertising, and research and development — increased by roughly 23 percent to $17.9 million in the second quarter. Miller said the upsurge reflected increases in management payroll costs and information-technology expenses. Those expenditures were made “to support continued business growth,” he said, and to improve the company’s access to information.

Company officials said Barrett maintains a strong balance sheet. The company’s cash and cash equivalents totaled $146.1 million at the end of June. That compares with $143.2 million at the end of December 2013. And Barrett has no outstanding borrowing on its credit line, officials said.

The company’s stock, which trades on the Nasdaq exchange as BBSI, closed up $7.43 Wednesday, at $58.17 per share. The company’s shares have traded between $41.96 and $102.20 in the past 52 weeks.