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Difficult Trading Conditions Slow Down PageGroup

Difficult Trading Conditions Slow Down PageGroup

Michael Page has reported its First Quarter 2013 Interim Management Statement.

Y-o-Y gross profit             % of Group Q1  Q1 2013                Q1 2012                %            %

EMEA                                  41%                       &pound52.0m                &pound60.3m                -13.8%   -15.1%

UK                                         24%                       &pound30.2m                &pound30.6m                -1.2%     -1.2%

Asia Pacific                         20%                       &pound26.1m                &pound26.3m                -0.7%     -0.3%

Americas                            15%                       &pound18.5m                &pound18.7m                -1.4%     2.2%

Total                                     100%                    &pound126.8m               &pound135.9m               -6.7%     -6.7%


Permanent                       77%                       &pound98.3m                &pound106.5m               -7.7%     -7.6%

Temporary                         23%                       &pound28.5m                &pound29.4m                -3.1%     -3.6%

Commenting, Steve Ingham, Chief Executive said: "The Group reported gross profit of &pound127m, up 0.2% on the fourth quarter, although down 6.7% year-on-year against a strong comparative performance. This robust result was achieved despite continuing tough economic conditions and weak market confidence across all our regions.

"We saw good performances in some of our regions, with Asia and North America delivering the strongest gross profit performances up 14% and 16% respectively year-on-year in constant currency. Our offices in Greater China, Japan, Mexico, the Middle East, and the USA performed particularly well, as did some of our smaller, newer businesses in Europe, Latin America and Asia. However, our businesses in France and Germany, where we operate predominantly in permanent recruitment, experienced another challenging quarter, down 17% and 27% respectively against strong comparables year-on-year in constant currency.

"Activity levels remained strong in the quarter, but with difficult trading conditions continuing in several markets, we anticipate Q2 to be a challenging quarter. We continue to actively adjust our cost base, both to take account of market conditions and also to improve the Group's operating performance. As a result total headcount reduced by 57 to 5,042 from the year end 2012. This was driven by a reduction in operational support of 64, offset by a small net increase in fee earners.

"Overall, we have had a robust first quarter. However, to target our long-term growth and profit opportunities, we have continued to invest in our key growth markets of China, South East Asia, Latin America, Germany and, now, North America. We are also actively managing our operating cost base. Combined, these two will deliver long-term profitable growth to our shareholders."


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