Robert Walters upbeat after transitional year

Recruitment firm Robert Walters said full year profit was hurt by a decline in permanent global financial services recruitment but net fee income rose after growth in Asia-Pacific.

Recruitment firm Robert Walters said full year profit was hurt by a decline in permanent global financial services recruitment but net fee income rose after growth in Asia-Pacific.

Pre-tax profit halved to £7.7m for the year ended December 31st 2012 from £15.1m the year before. Revenue for the year rose to £567.8m from £528.1m.

Gross profit or net fee income increased to £188,391 from £183,443 the year earlier as the group reduced its exposure to the banking sector.

Asia Pacific, which represents 50% of net income, saw revenue rise to £280.6m from £246.6m before while net fee income increased to £93.4m from £92.7m.

Australia, the region's largest business, was pressured by the downturn in financial services and the slowdown in the resources sector, particularly during the second half of the year, the group explained.

Robert Walter's overall headcount increased 9% however it reduced headcount in financial services recruitment by 18%.

In the UK, which generates 26% of total net fee income, revenue rose to £193.2m from £189.0m. Net fee income increased to £49.7m from £47.0m.

Chief Executive Robert Walters commented: "2012 has been a year of transition. We successfully increased our net fee income across all regions and delivered results in line with expectations whilst taking considerable strides to diversify away from financial services."

"The group has successfully responded to market conditions...We are confident that the significant changes we have made to the structure of our business will deliver a platform for enhanced future profitability."

The board will recommend maintaining the final dividend at 3.68p per share.

CJ

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