Hays mixed performance persists

Recruitment company Hays posted a four per cent decline in half year net fees and warned several markets are likely to remain challenging.

Recruitment company Hays posted a four per cent decline in half year net fees and warned several markets are likely to remain challenging.

Net fees reduced to £360.3m for six months ended December 31st from £373.8m a year earlier. Pre-tax profit fell 6% during the period to £56.7m.

Operating profit from continuing operations slipped to £60.3m from £63.1m previously. Basic earnings per share fell to 2.43p from 2.76p.

Hays said it was pleased with its results in the context of more fragile and fast-changing conditions in several key markets.

UK returned to profit after it significantly reduced costs while Hays saw a strong performance in Continental Europe & Rest of World, with net fees up 14%.

The group saw good growth in Germany or Canada while markets in Australia and France deteriorated in the half-year.

"Several markets are likely to remain challenging, but these will sit side by side with clear opportunities for growth. To be successful in this environment, we will continue to react quickly to the world as it changes, investing in stronger markets while reducing costs in tougher areas. Our focus is on long-term growth while driving profits along the way," Hays said.

"Looking ahead we expect overall conditions to remain fragile, but we have seen an encouraging return to work in our key temp and contractor businesses.

Hays maintained its dividend payment at 0.83p.

CJ

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