April 11, 2018 / 6:48 AM / 9 days ago

Recruiter PageGroup's first-quarter profit rises on overseas strength

(Reuters) - British recruitment firm PageGroup Plc (PAGE.L) reported a 10 percent rise in first-quarter gross profit on Wednesday as growth in its international markets more than offset a drop in earnings from its home turf.

In Europe, Middle East and Africa, PageGroup’s largest market, gross profit grew by 18.2 percent to 94.7 million pounds in the quarter ended March, with eight countries achieving record performance.

The company said its income in the UK was impacted by delays in permanent hiring decisions as a result of the Easter holidays. First-quarter gross profit in the UK fell 7.1 percent, compared with a 2.8 percent decline in the previous quarter.

The UK business made up 18 percent of gross profit.

With the difficult comparisons and Easter holidays, the company’s UK performance this year is expected to be similar to that of last year, Chief Executive Steve Ingham told Reuters.

    The company, which finds candidates mainly to fill permanent positions, said gross profit rose 10.3 percent to 187.7 million pounds ($266.4 million) in the first quarter.

    On a constant currency basis, gross profit grew 12.3 percent.

    “Brexit-related uncertainty continued to impact confidence, particularly within our Michael Page business, which was down 10 percent,” PageGroup said.

    The company added that it was comfortable with current market consensus for full-year operating profit of 132 million pounds.

    Reporting by Radhika Rukmangadhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri and Gopakumar Warrier

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