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Robert Walters plc (RWA:LSE), the permanent and contract recruitment services group, reports a fall in revenues from 169.8 million Pounds in the first six months of 2008 to 141.7 million Pounds in the same period of 2009. Gross profit was down from 71.7 million Pounds in 2008 to 50 million Pounds in 2009. The firm reports a pre-tax loss of 2.6 million Pounds in 2009 compared to a pre-tax profit of 9.8 million Pounds in 2008.
Contract staffing was more resilient than permanent staffing and now represents 41% of net fee income compared to 32% in 2008. Head count was reduced from 1,571 at the start of 2009 to 1,260 at June 2009. The company maintained its 39 offices in 17 countries as well as its interim dividend at 1.40p per share.
In Asia Pacific net fee income decreased by 37% to 19 million Pounds producing an operating loss of 0.5 million Pounds compared to an operating profit of 7.4 million Pounds in 2008. Asia Pacific represents 38% of group net fee income.
In the United Kingdom net fee income decreased by 29% to 16.7 million Pounds producing an operating loss of 0.8 million Pounds compared to an operating profit of 0.6 million Pounds in 2008. The UK represents 33% of net fee income.
In Europe net fee income decreased by 21% to 13.4 million Pounds producing an operating loss of 0.7 million Pounds compared to an operating profit of 2.6 million Pounds in 2008. Europe represents 37% of net fee income.
In the US and South Africa net fee income decreased by 27% to 0.9 million Pounds producing an operating loss of 0.2 million Pounds compared to a break even in 2008. The US and South Africa represent 2% of net fee income.
Robert Walters, Chief Executive, commented "market conditions continued to weaken during the period, but having taken the necessary action we are comfortable that headcount has reached an appropriate level given current trading activity."
"Our strategy is quite simple: to ride out this downturn, whilst maintaining a robust infrastructure to take full advantage of an upturn in economic conditions. We ended the period with 22.5 million Pounds of net cash, we are maintaining our dividend and have no plans to withdraw from any of the markets in which we operate.
In early trading Robert Walters shares were up 1.73% to 147 Pence.