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In the first half of the year, specialist IT recruiter InterQuest (ITQ:LSE) experienced difficult trading conditions both in the UK and abroad with revenue falling by -6% to £55.8 million, the company reported on Wednesday.
Especially the banking and finance sector suffered from falling demand, but overall gross profit in the six months to June was up +6% to £8.3 million from £7.8 million a year ago. In non-banking private sector, gross profit increased +17% while in the public sector this figure dropped -3%.
The gross margin improved by +1.7% to 14.9%, with the firm making an operating profit of £646,000 against a loss of £1.6 million seen last year. As the company moved back into profit, net income was £371,000 compared to a loss of £1.8 million a year ago.
Due to deteriorating market conditions, the firm now expects “that it will take a little longer than originally anticipated for all our new investments to reach profitability.”
In the first half of 2012, revenue derived from contract recruitment fell -7% to £53.0 million while gross profit was more or less flat at £5.5 million. The first half of 2012 saw an improved performance from the permanent recruitment business with gross profit 20% ahead of the same time last year at £2.8 million.
The company opened its first overseas office in Singapore towards the end 2011. This business generated gross profits of £203,000 in the six months to June, which represents 2.5% of group gross profit.
InterQuest is a group of specialist recruitment businesses, placing both contract and permanent staff into niche disciplines within the information & communications technology sector. It is placed 30th in Staffing Industry Analysts’ ranking of top recruitment agencies in the UK.
In early trading, the company’s share price was up +2.7% to 38.0 pence, down -29% from a year ago and +22.6% above the 52-week low of 31 pence seen in August 2012. This values the company at £12.27 million.