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Spring Group plc - Pre- Close Period Trading Statement

Spring Group plc - Pre- Close Period Trading Statement

Spring Group PLC the professional staffing and workforce company, today provides a pre-close period trading statement ahead of the Company's Interim results for the first six months 2009, which will be reported on 6th August 2009.

In common with our industry peers, Spring has experienced a challenging first half of the year characterized by a much weaker market for permanent staffing, whilst contract staffing has been more resilient.

Our Contract business, which now accounts for approximately 85% of our Net Fee Income, experienced a 16% reduction compared with the first half of last year. In our Permanent business, we experienced a decline of 49%. Overall, this has resulted in a 23% reduction in Group Net Fee Income year on year. At the same time, we continue to manage our cost base prudently so that it is appropriate for current market conditions. This broadly translates into a breakeven performance at the EBITDA level.

We continue to focus on maintaining a strong balance sheet and finished the period with over 48 million net cash (June 2008: 26.1 million), allowing us to continue to review acquisition opportunities and maintain investment where appropriate, to take advantage of longer term growth.

The new offices opened in 2008 and 2009 in Italy, France and Asia Pacific, whilst still in investment phase, are performing in line with expectations. We believe that this investment will put us in a strong position to support future growth and is a key part of our strategy.

We have continued to make good progress in our RPO business, with last year's successes being supplemented by a number of new contract wins.

The General staffing sector however, remains challenging, though a strengthened management team and a focus on cost control should ensure that this business is well positioned to take advantage in an upturn.

Peter Searle commented: "Whilst the first half has been tough for the recruitment sector, our RPO and Contract offerings have provided us with some resilience in these difficult markets.

"We believe that our strong bias towards temporary staffing, our robust cash position and our investment in infrastructure enable Spring to both weather current market conditions and to benefit from longer term growth opportunities."

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