Michael Page says 'another challenging quarter' ahead

Recruitment firm Michael Page International (MPI) said on Tuesday that 'tough economic conditions and weak market confidence' was partly to blame for a slump in profits in the first quarter.

Recruitment firm Michael Page International (MPI) said on Tuesday that 'tough economic conditions and weak market confidence' was partly to blame for a slump in profits in the first quarter.

Gross profits totalled £126.8m in the first three months of the year, 0.2% higher than the fourth quarter of 2012 but down 6.7% year-on-year.

A sharp decline (-15.1%) in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, which accounts for two-thirds of group profit, offset a relatively resilient performance elsewhere.

MPI said that its businesses in France and Germany, where it operates mainly in permanent recruitment, experienced "another challenging quarter", with profits down 17% and 27% at constant currency, respectively, against strong comparable.

Across the group, permanent recruitment accounts for 77% of total profits, while temporary makes up 23%. These two divisions saw gross profits fall by 7.6% and 3.6% at constant currency, respectively, on last year.

"Activity levels remained strong in the quarter, but with difficult trading conditions continuing in several markets, we anticipate Q2 to be a challenging quarter," the firm said.

MPI said it is continuing to invest in its "key growth targets" of China, South-East Asia, Latin America, Germany and North America in an attempt to "target our long-term growth and profit opportunities".

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