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Michael Page Confirms Weakening Markets

Michael Page International has published its first quarter trading for 2009.

Group Q1 gross profit of 95.0m (2008: 140.3m) a decrease of 32.3% (39.7%*)
EMEA gross profit (50% of Group) of 47.7m (2008: 65.2m) a decrease of 26.8% (39.1%*)
UK gross profit (30% of Group) of 28.9m (2008: 47.1m) a decrease of 38.7%
Asia-Pacific gross profit (10% of Group) of 9.4m (2008: 16.4m) a decrease of 42.3% (49.1%*)
Americas gross profit (9% of Group) of 9.0m (2008: 11.6m) a decrease of 22.6% (33.6%*)
Permanent gross profit (70% of Group) lower by 39.3% (46.5%*)
Temporary gross profit (30% of Group) lower by 7.0% (15.3%*)
Group headcount decreased by 809 (16%) in Q1 to 4,134

* Denotes where overseas results denominated in foreign currencies have been translated at constant rates of exchange for constant currency illustrative purposes.

Commenting on first quarter trading, Steve Ingham, Chief Executive said:

"As anticipated, the Group generated a higher gross profit in March than in either of the first two months of the quarter, resulting in a first quarter operating profit in the region of 3m. However, market conditions continued to weaken during the first quarter of 2009, with the impact of the financial crisis now evident in virtually every market and discipline in which we operate, albeit to varying degrees.

"We continue to reduce our cost base to reflect the lower levels of activity. While we anticipate that our overall cost base and headcount will reduce in the second quarter (16% in the UK in the reported period), in a few markets and disciplines which were the first to slow, we are not planning further headcount reductions.

"We remain confident that, with our strong balance sheet, leading brand and experienced management team, we can maintain our market presence and continue to gain market share."


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