July 16, 2020 / 7:26 AM / 23 days ago

Recruiter Hays flags losses in summer as net fees slump

(Reuters) - Hays (HAYS.L), one of the world’s biggest recruiters, expects to be loss-making in the summer and reported a 34% drop in fourth-quarter net fees on Thursday as companies slowed new hiring to ride out a downturn induced by the coronavirus crisis.

The recruitment firm said it trimmed headcount by 9% in the fourth quarter and cost base fell 21%, adding that cost reductions helped it break-even in the three-month period.

Hays, which operates in 33 countries, said full-year operating profit is expected to come in between about 130 million pounds ($163.09 million) and 135 million pounds, down from 248.8 million pounds last year.

Recruiters around the globe have been hammered by a hiring freeze during the health crisis, forcing even the major players to come up with contingency measures to cushion the blow.

“The pandemic has severely impacted all our markets globally ... facing conditions far harsher than any I have known,” Chief Executive Officer Alistair Cox said in a statement.

In April, Hays had raised about 200 million pounds to prop up its finances in the face of an expected collapse in fees.

($1 = 0.7971 pounds)

Reporting by Indranil Sarkar and Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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