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Hydrogen Group plc Increases NFI

Hydrogen Group plc Increases NFI

Pre-Close Trading Update

Hydrogen Group plc, the specialist professional recruitment business, is today issuing an update on trading for the year ended 31 December 2012.

On 15 November 2012, the Group stated that trading in the traditionally strong period from the end of the summer to the end of November was anticipated to be below the Board's expectations. Since that date, Hydrogen has experienced a return to more typical levels of activity, and the Board is confident that the Group will achieve current market expectations for 2012.

Despite difficult macro-economic conditions during 2012 which impacted the global recruitment industry, Hydrogen expects to report a 5% organic increase in Net Fee Income ("NFI") to &pound31.4m (2011: &pound29.8m), driven by an increase in NFI from permanent placements, with an almost equal split of NFI between contract and permanent recruitment for the year.

The Group has continued to develop its practice driven approach, investing in markets and geographies where it sees potential for long term growth. NFI from markets outside the UK increased to more than 40% (2011: 36%) of Group NFI. Further substantial progress has been achieved in Technical and Scientific practices, with NFI growth year on year of approximately 40%, contributing almost 40% (2011: 29%) to Group NFI.

Hydrogen has continued to invest in infrastructure to support its long term growth strategy. The Group completed its roll out of a new front office system in December and upgraded its entire IT infrastructure to a Cloud solution. Cost control remains a key focus for the Group and the cost base continues to be managed appropriately.

Commenting, Ian Temple, Executive Chairman, said: "Against a challenging macro-economic climate during 2012 with limited visibility throughout, we are pleased to report an increase in NFI for the year.

The Group traded in line with expectations up to late summer but experienced a period of weak activity in the latter part of quarter three, a time when traditionally trading has been strong. We have seen a recovery in quarter four and a return to more typical levels of activity.

Despite this short term volatility, the Group has continued to develop its strategy of growing the business through identifying and developing its presence in markets and geographies that offer growth opportunities for the long term. We have also completed a major programme of investment in infrastructure and have the platform to support our future plans for growth."

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