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UK – Robert Walters gross profit up despite weak Asia Pac market

04 October 2012

Robert Walters (RWA:LSE) increased gross profit in the third quarter of the year by +1% to £48.5 million, showing strong growth rates in France and Germany but falling demand in Asia, the staffing company reported Thursday.

Trading in the three months to September was in line with expectations, following a slowdown seen in the financial services sector in Asia Pacific where gross profit dropped by -5% to £24.1 million. During the quarter, the company also completed the purchase of the remaining minority interest of its China business.

In the UK, gross profit in the quarter increased by +8% to £13.1 million after the firm saw a weak permanent recruitment market in the banking sector during the first half of the year.

In Europe, trading remained muted but gross profit rose +3% to £9.5 million, helped by strong demand seen in the French and German staffing markets.

In the Americas and South Africa, gross profit rose by +45% to £1.8 million, making it the firm’s smallest staffing market based on profits.

Resource Solutions, the company’s recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) business, performed strongly and won a number of new clients in the quarter, this also boosting headcount levels.

“These are solid results, given a global economic backdrop that continues to be challenging,” said chief executive Robert Walters.

“Trading conditions in the UK, continental Europe, the Americas and South Africa remained broadly unchanged in the third quarter, whilst Asia Pacific has continued to be impacted by the ongoing weakness in the financial services sector.

He also said that the company will continue to “deliver positive results.”

In the first half of 2012, Robert Walters reported a +14% increase in revenue, but operating profit in the period more than halved.

Robert Walters provides services on a permanent and contract basis to clients in the financial, commercial and industrial sectors. The firm is among the top 50 largest staffing companies in the world, according to Staffing Industry Analysts’ research.

In early trading this morning, the company’s share price was down by -0.9% to 196.00 pence, a -5.9% decrease from a year ago and +24.8% above the 52-week low of 157.00 pence seen in December 2011. The firm has a market capitalisation of £151.57 million. 

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