Recruitment firm Michael Page's business in the UK continues to be depressed by the weakness of the banking sector, but the group put in a strong first quarter showing in Germany and France.
Gross profit in the first quarter of 2012 was up 6.9%, or 7.7% on a constant currency basis, to £136.0m from £127.3m in 2011.
The UK, which accounts for 23% of revenue, saw gross profit slide 3.7% to £30.6m from £31.7m but Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), the largest part of the business (44% of revenues, saw gross profit rise 7.4% (10.1% on a constant currency basis) to £60.3m from £56.2m the year before.
Subscribe to MoneyWeek
Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE
The Asia Pacific region's (19% of group revenues) gross profit of £26.3m was up 23.0% (17.8%) on the £21.4m in the first quarter of 2011.
In the Americas (14%), gross profit of £18.8m was up 4.6% (8.2%*) on the £18.0m the year before.
Net cash at the end of March was in the region of £63m, up from £58.2m at the end of 2011.
"Markets continue to be weak and visibility remains limited, however, the group remains financially strong, with net cash in the region of £63m. Operationally, our successful strategy of diversification, both by geography and business discipline, positions us well to benefit from our ongoing investment in those markets which we expect to deliver growth over the long-term and our strong competitive position in more mature markets," said Michael Page's Chief Executive, Steve Ingham.
Bitcoin hits new heights - is now a good time to invest?
The value of Bitcoin has surged to a 20-month high. Why is Bitcoin rising and is now a good time to invest?
By Vaishali Varu Published
Gold hits record high - could it soar higher next year?
The yellow metal has hit a new all-time high. We look at market expectations for 2024, whether investors should sell and take profits, and how to invest in gold.
By Ruth Emery Published