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UK — Hays sees improvement in APAC region but Europe lags

25 February 2010
 

Hays Plc. (HAS:LSE), the global specialist recruitment group, has announced six-month unaudited results for the half year ended 31 December 2009.

Turnover was up by +1% from 1.27 billion Pounds in H2 2008 to 1.28 billion Pounds in H2 2009. Net fees were down by -31% from 383.7 million Pounds in H2 2008 to 264.8 million Pounds in H2 2009. Profit before tax fell by 97% from 100.8 million Pounds in H2 2008 to 3.4 million Pounds in H2 2009.

Net fees generated from temporary staffing were down by -21% whilst net fees generated from permanent staffing were down by -42%. Operating profit fell by -66% from 105.1 million Pounds in H2 2008 to 35.1 million Pounds in H2 2009.

In the United Kingdom and Ireland net fees were down by -37% from 192.6 million Pounds in H2 2008 to 121.5 in H2 2009. Operating profit fell by -86% from 45.6 million Pounds in H2 2008 to 6.2 million Pounds in H2 2009. The Company has seen growth in the UK Pharma, Financial, Education and Healthcare sectors but identifies continued weakness in Construction and Healthcare.
 
In Continental Europe and Rest of the World, net fees were down by -23% from 102.8 million Pounds in H2 2008 to 79.1 in H2 2009. Operating profit fell by -67% from 20.6 million Pounds in H2 2008 to 6.8 million Pounds in H2 2009. In Germany, which represents 49% of this division's net fees and the majority of the division's profits, net fees were down by 21% during the period.

Commenting on these results, Alistair Cox, Chief Executive of Hays, said "these results illustrate the importance of our international business, which represents over three quarters of our worldwide profits. With operations in 27 countries outside the UK, Hays has the largest international specialist recruitment business in the industry."

"Throughout the recession we have protected the core of our international business and strengthened it by entering new geographies and sectors. At the same time as investing in this infrastructure around the world, we have defended our market leading position in the UK, rapidly adjusted our cost base and generated significant cash to allow us both to reduce net debt and maintain the dividend."

"Currently we are seeing improved candidate and client confidence across the business in most of our private sector markets. Asia Pacific and parts of Continental Europe have continued to deliver modest rates of sequential improvement. Our remaining businesses continue to see overall stability in their markets and in the UK we expect our performance to be broadly similar in the second half. Our exposure to high potential overseas markets, our investment in technology, and the retention of our key people, position us extremely well to capitalise on the next phase of economic growth."

In current trading, Hays is seeing modest sequential growth in demand across all countries within APAC (now Hays's most important profit contributor), early signs of recovery in Germany, and stability in all other major European markets. In the UK, sequential growth in the private sector is being broadly offset by a decline in the public sector which leads the Company to indicate that its UK performance for the next six months is expected to be in line with the prior six months.
 
After the announcement, Hays's shares were down by -5.38% to 107.20 Pence.

 

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