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Michael Page International Plc (MPI:LSE), the specialist recruitment consultancy, today releases an interim statement on first quarter 2010 results.
Group Q1 2010 gross profits were up by +2.9% from 95 million Pounds to 97.8 million Pounds when compared to Q1 2009. In constant currency Q1 Group gross profits were down by -5.3%.
Group Q1 2010 gross profits were up by +7.9% when compared to Q4 2009. In constant currency Q1 Group gross profits were equally up by +7.9% when compared to the previous quarter.
In France (18% of the Group) gross profit in local currency was lower by -9% against Q1 2009 (+3% higher than Q4 2009).
In Germany (6% of the Group) gross profit in local currency was lower by -15% against Q1 2009 (+19% higher than Q4 2009).
In The Netherlands (4% of the Group) gross profit in local currency was lower by -50% against Q1 2009 (-11% lower than Q4 2009).
In Italy (4% of the Group) gross profit in local currency was lower by -7% against Q1 2009 (+14% higher than Q4 2009).
In Spain (4% of the Group) was lower by -7% against Q1 2009 (18% higher than Q4 2009).
Commenting on the first quarter trading, Steve Ingham, Chief Executive, said "our performance in the first quarter was encouraging, with gross profit up 8% sequentially on the fourth quarter of 2009 at 98 million Pounds and all four of our geographic regions now reporting sequential growth. The improvement in our performance has been driven largely by greater permanent recruitment activity, as confidence levels have increased leading to a higher rate of job churn, and a stronger than expected performance in the UK."
"Over the last few years we have concentrated our investment in diversifying the Group internationally and we now have 40% of our fee earners in underdeveloped markets. We have strong market leading positions in specialist recruitment in Asia and Latin America and are particularly optimistic about our prospects in these regions."
"While we believe the outlook for the UK, Continental Europe and North America is less certain, we are now experiencing an improvement in almost all markets. With the benefit of maintaining our presence in all our markets, our lower cost base and our operational gearing, we are well positioned to improve significantly our performance in 2010."
An agreement with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has been reached in principle for MPI to retain 28.5 million Pounds (net of fees) in respect of reclaimed VAT and interest thereon. The drafting of a formal contractual agreement is currently being discussed. When it is signed, the Group will return approximately 12 million Pounds of the 50 million Pounds it received from HMRC in 2009.
In early trading Michael Page's shares were up by 1.89% to 431.50 Pence.