What happened

Heidrick & Struggles International (NASDAQ:HSII) stock is hopping today, up 23.2% as of 12:35 p.m. EST, after the company reported blowout earnings for its fiscal fourth quarter last night.

Expected to earn $0.35 per share on sales of $176 million in Q4, Heidrick instead reported per-share profits of $0.58 on "net revenue" of $185.3 million.

Pile of $100 banknotes

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Total revenue for the quarter increased 10% year over year to $191 million. Profits for the quarter were much better than the $2.09 per share in losses Heidrick & Struggles suffered in Q4 of 2017.

For the year, total revenue increased 15% to $375.6 million and profits were $2.52 per share (versus a $2.60-per-share loss in 2017).

On the cash flow statement, quarterly free cash flow increased 22% year over year to $124.8 million, helping to offset cash burn earlier in the year, and leaving Heidrick with total free cash flow generated for the year of $96.9 million -- a staggering 83% increase over 2017.

Now what

Speaking of free cash flow, Heidrick & Struggles CFO Mark Harris noted that "by generating strong adjusted free cash flow, we have the flexibility to" both continue investing in growth and also reward its shareholders with cash returns. Accordingly, Heidrick announced it will be increasing its quarterly dividend by 15% to $0.15 per share.

The company also noted that it has "$21.7 million remaining" in its share buyback authorization, a second potential avenue for returning cash to shareholders now that Heidrick has plenty of cash to spare.