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UK – Robert Walters revenue rises, banking remains tough

26 February 2013

UK-based recruiter Robert Walters (RWA:LSE) today reported an +8% rise in its full-year revenue, driven by growth in major staffing markets across Asia Pacific. The firm also moved away from its financial services offering to diversify its business.

Revenue in the 2012 financial year was £567.8 million. Gross profit grew +3% to £188.4 million while operating profit nearly halved to £8.5 million. Profit after tax dropped -52% to £4.9 million. The firm said that profitability was impacted by a decline in permanent financial services recruitment.

The staffing firm now plans to make “selective” investments and keep a tight control on costs to build market share. Robert Walters is among the 50-largest staffing firms in the world, according to research by Staffing Industry Analysts.

The firm generates nearly half of its revenue from Asia Pacific where revenue grew +14% to £280.6 million and gross profit was up +1% to £93.4 million. Australia, the region's largest business, was impacted by the downturn in financial services and the slowdown in the resources sector. Asia could also not escape the slowdown in the banking sector.

In the UK, revenue rose +2% to £193.2 million with gross profit increasing +6% to £49.7 million. The company said that financial services recruitment activity remained weak in the year.

In Europe, revenue rose a marginal +0.5% to £87.8 million and gross profit grew +1% to £39.6 million. “Trading conditions deteriorated during the second half of the year although France, our largest business, produced a robust performance,” the firm said. Gross profit grew in Germany but the Netherlands was impacted by weak trading. Business was “tough” in Spain while the firm’s Ireland business increased profitability.

In the Americas and South Africa, revenue was up +20% to £6.1 million with gross profit rising +24% to £5.7 million. 

In early trading, the company’s share price was flat at 200.75 pence, a -11% drop from a year ago and 15% above its 52-week low. Based on its stock price, the firm has a market value of £153.87 million. 

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