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Gross profit was up by +37% to 112.7 million Pounds in Q3 2010 when compared to same quarter last year at Michael Page International Plc (MPI:LSE), the professional recruitment specialist and 11th largest staffing company in Europe.
A trading update for the third quarter 2010 ended 30 September reveals that in constant currency gross profit was up by +34.2% year-on-year.
Quarter-on-quarter gross profit was up by +0.9% and up by +2.3% in constant currency.
Gross profit generated from permanent placements (78% of group) was up by +49.7% to 87.4 million Pounds year-on-year. In constant currency, it was up by +45.9%. Quarter-on-quarter permanent gross profit was down by -0.3% but up by +1.1% in constant currency.
Gross profit generated from temporary placements (22% of group) was up by +5.5% to 24.9 million Pounds year-on-year. In constant currency, it was up by +5.1%. Quarter-on-quarter permanent gross profit was up by +5.5% and up by +6.9% in constant currency.
Group headcount was up by +8.6% to 4,193 in Q3 compared to the previous quarter.
In Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), the group's largest region, representing 40% of group gross profit, third quarter gross profit was 44.6 million Pounds, an increase of +25% (28.1% in constant currency) over the 35.7 million Pounds recorded in the third quarter of 2009.
While the third quarter is seasonally quieter, market conditions in general continued the stabilisation and gradual recovery witnessed in the first half of the year. The Netherlands remains the group's most challenging market, but began to exhibit signs of recovery with a small sequential increase in third quarter revenue. In virtually all the other countries in the EMEA region Michael Page has achieved strong year-on-year growth over the third quarter of 2009. Across the 17 countries that comprise the EMEA region, headcount increased by +63.
In the UK, representing 29% of group gross profit, third quarter gross profit was 33 million Pounds, 20.9% higher than the 27.3 million Pounds recorded in the third quarter of 2009.
With the notable exception of the public sector, the UK market continued its slow recovery as confidence levels improved. Good year-on-year growth was achieved in all disciplines throughout the UK. Headcount increased by +92 during the quarter, a large number of which were graduates who started at the end of the summer.
In Asia Pacific, third quarter gross profit was a record 20.3 million Pounds, an increase of +88% (+68.7%, in constant currency) over the 10.8 million Pounds recorded in the third quarter of 2009 and sequentially the region grew by +2.3 million Pounds (+12.5% or +13.7%, in constant currency). Headcount increased by +95 people across the region.
In Australia and New Zealand, which represents 9% of the group, third quarter gross profit grew by +50% (constant currency). In Asia, where market conditions continued to be strong, the businesses grew in the third quarter by +91% (in constant currency) and sequentially by +34% (in constant currency). Across Asia Pacific headcount was increased. A new office was opened in the Admiralty Centre in Hong Kong.
In the Americas, third quarter gross profit was a record 14.8 million Pounds, an increase of +73.7% (+57.9%, in constant currency) over the 8.5 million Pounds recorded in the third quarter of 2009 and grew sequentially by +0.1 million Pounds (+1.0% or +3.8%, in constant currency). Headcount in the region increased by +83.
In North America, where market conditions remained tough, Michael Page grew in the third quarter by +48% and sequentially by +2% (in constant currency). In Latin America, which is now 8% of the group, market conditions remained strong. In the period two new offices were opened in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. At the beginning of October a further new office was opened in Santiago, Chile.
Commenting on the third quarter trading, Steve Ingham, Chief Executive, said "we achieved another strong performance in the third quarter, producing gross profit of 112.7 million Pounds, up +37%, with September being our best month of the year so far. While the growth came largely from the continued improvement in permanent recruitment activity, for the first time this year we also recorded year-on-year growth in temporary recruitment."
"In the UK, Continental Europe and North America, where market conditions continued to stabilise but remained tough, we continued to perform well and will invest where we see opportunities for growth, or to take market share."
"We have achieved very strong growth in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, where we have market leading positions and we continued to invest in these regions. During the quarter we added significantly to our headcount, opened three new offices and at the beginning of October opened in a new country, Chile, in its capital city of Santiago. These markets provide the Group with numerous opportunities for further organic growth and we will continue to invest by adding headcount, additional offices and new country openings.
"Our performance continues to benefit from our strategy of diversifying our geographical presence however, it is the nature of our business that visibility is short and there remains uncertainty over future levels of business confidence and economic activity."
In early trading Michael Page's shares were down by -3.68% to 460.80 Pence.