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UK — SThree trading update in line with market expectations

04 December 2009
Full year results are expected to be in line with consensus market expectations at a gross profit of circa 168 million Pounds, down 23% year-on-year (2008: 218.9 million Pounds). The percentage share of non-UK gross profit is up from 45% in 2008 to 55% in 2009. SThree (STHR:LSE), the international specialist staffing firm, announced in a trading update for the year ended 29 November 2009.

The board estimates that contract gross profit is up from 52% in 2008 to 57% in 2009 and non-ICT gross profit is up from 23% in 2008 to 28% in 2009.

The group's net cash position has improved during the year from 24.6 million Pounds in 2008 to 48 million Pounds in 2009. SThree has no debt.

Total headcount as at 29 November 2009 was down by 29.8% from 2,274 in 2008 to 1,597 but up 6% versus the headcount at the end of the third quarter 2009.
During 2009 SThree opened an additional office in Frankfurt and new offices in Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Marseille and Singapore. The group anticipates further international expansion for the next year.

Russell Clements, Chief Executive, commented "without question 2009 presented SThree with trading conditions as challenging as any we have faced in our 23 year history. I am pleased to say that despite this, the Group performed highly credibly, demonstrating the robustness of our business model even in the most difficult of circumstances. We were able to act decisively where required to modify our cost base while at the same time we continued to prudently invest for the future."

"Although market sentiment has yet to undergo anything like a paradigm shift, we have nonetheless seen recent signs that indicate most markets have stabilised and some are showing improvement. We will continue to monitor these trends with a view to ensuring the Group is well placed to take full advantage of a broader based recovery. With this in mind our seasoned management, excellent cash position and increasing international exposure positions us extremely well for 2010 and beyond."
In early trading SThree's shares were up by 3.84% to 257 Pence.



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