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Empresaria Group plc has issued a Trading Update

Empresaria Group plc has issued a Trading Update

Highlights

Full year revenues of 208 million (2007: 148 million), up 41 %
Full year net fee income of 51 million (2007: 42 million), up 21 %
75% of net fee income from temporary staffing (2007: 72%)
Empresaria has continued to make excellent progress in developing a multi-disciplined specialist international staffing group, balanced in terms of sector and geographic coverage and focused on delivering long term growth. In the UK, our activities in construction and property services grew strongly in 2008, driven by demand within transport and infrastructure. In Germany, Headway, which is by some margin the largest of our European operations, achieved like-for-like growth in revenues of 7% over the year, although business declined in the last quarter, reflecting the impact of a weakening German economy. Our operations in our Rest of the World division grew revenues and net fee income in 2008 significantly ahead of the previous year, mainly from a combination of start-ups and small acquisitions made in 2006 and 2007. In South America, Alternattiva made a useful contribution in its first full year trading as part of our Group.

It has been widely reported that market conditions became increasingly challenging in the fourth quarter of 2008 and, although our overall rate of growth declined as expected, our revenues still increased during this period over the prior year. In part, this reflects the concentration within the group on temporary staffing operations (75% of net fee income in 2008). Temporary staffing has thus far proven more resilient in the current downturn than permanent recruitment business. There are signs of some improvements early in 2009, although the extended factory shut downs over Christmas and the New Year, and the extreme cold weather, have affected our operations in Germany and Holland. Forward visibility, however, is limited. In light of expected tougher economic conditions ahead, we are taking appropriate actions to reduce our cost base and increase our operating efficiency.

The Board expects profit, adjusted for goodwill amortisation and exceptional items, for the year ended 31 December 2008 to be in line with current market expectations. Over the longer term the Board is confident that trends underlying specialist recruitment, which include liberalisation of labour markets, demographic changes, skill shortages and demand for flexible labour solutions, will benefit the Group and provide exciting growth potential.
The Group intends to announce its preliminary results for the year ended 31 December 2008 on 31 March 2009.

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