June 15, 2018 / 6:37 AM / 10 months ago

Mainland Europe profits drive UK recruiter SThree higher

(Reuters) - Recruiting firm SThree Plc (STHR.L) reported an 11 percent rise in gross profit for the first half of 2018 on Friday, as strong growth in continental Europe and the United States more than offset a slide in UK business.

SThree, which places people with financial, energy, banking and pharmaceutical companies, has been concentrating on markets outside its home base for some time, cautioning last September that the UK may have reached a point of inflection.

That chimes with the picture at other British recruiters like PageGroup (PAGE.L), which warned in March that a period of Brexit-driven weakness in UK hiring would continue this year.

Gross profit from STHree’s mainland European and U.S. operations jumped 18 and 9 percent respectively, pushing shares in the company 3 percent higher in morning trade.

By contrast, profits in the UK fell 2 percent year-on-year and the company overall now generates more than 80 percent of its profit from business outside the UK.

Gross profit rose to 148.4 million pounds in the six months ended May 31, from 134.4 million pounds a year ago, the company said in the trading update.

SThree also reaffirmed its full-year expectations and said it was on track to deliver its five-year growth strategy.

Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham

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