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Proffice (PROEB:STO), one of Scandinavia’s largest staffing firms, expects weak demand in the first half of 2013 after fourth-quarter revenue fell -7% to SEK 1,199 million. The company said there are no indicators “the market will improve in the near future.”
In the three months to December, the firm made an operating loss of SEK 14 million, compared to an operating profit of SEK 55 million a year earlier. This was due to lower demand and one-off costs. Overall, the Swedish recruiter made a loss after tax of SEK 5 million, compared to a profit of SEK 37 million at the same time last year.
CEO Lars Kry said that economic uncertainty put a break on business activities, especially in Sweden where it derives most of its revenue and where sales fell -13% in the quarter. But in Norway, the firm’s second-largest market, revenue grew +21% while revenue remained flat in Denmark. In its smaller market Finland, revenue was down -33% in the period.
The firm continues to reorganise its business and improve profitability. It said that reorganisation costs will impact earnings in the first quarter. Looking ahead, the company said: “Proffice expects a continued weak market.”
The news hit the stock market this morning when shares fell -7.7% to SEK 22.80, a -11.3% decline from a year ago. Based on its share price, the firm has a market value of SEK 1.6 billion (approximately €188.4 million).
According to Staffing Industry Analysts’ research, Proffice is among the three largest recruiters in Scandinavia.