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UK recruiter Hydrogen (HYDG:LSE) today said that current trading is in line with expectations despite warning of “limited” visibility in the recruitment industry. This comes after the firm reported a +7% rise in 2012 full-year revenue which totalled £167.0 million.
Gross profit in the period increased by +5% to £31.3 million from £29.8 million a year ago, driven by strong growth in the technical and scientific markets. Gross profit from contract recruitment fell by -0.6% to £16.1 million, compared to £16.2 million in the prior year. Permanent recruitment fared better with gross profit jumping by +12% to £15.2 million.
International gross profit increased by +16% to £12.8 million, representing 41% of total gross profit. In the UK, gross profit dropped by -1% to £18.5 million.
Overall, operating profit was down -13% to £3.4 million. Profits attributable to shareholders fell -8% to £2.2 million.
CEO Tim Smeaton said: “Hydrogen delivered a resilient performance in 2012, further growing the business despite challenging economic conditions continuing to impact the global recruitment industry.
We performed well in our technical and scientific markets which helped to drive growth in both revenue and group net fee income [gross profit]. 2012 marked the delivery of our strategy set out in 2008 to transform the business into a global and more diversified recruitment group.”
Looking ahead, the firm now plans to increase the percentage of gross profit generated from outside the UK to at least 65% by 2016, and to further build its technical and scientific market practices to deliver at least 50% of group gross profit in the next 3 years.
In early trading, the company’s share price was up +0.5% to 94 pence, an increase of +13% from a year ago. Based on its stock price, Hydrogen has a market value of £22.05 million.
Hydrogen operates across major staffing markets in Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas. It is ranked among the top 40 largest staffing companies in the UK, according to Staffing Industry Analysts.