Robert Walters net fee income up 15% in Q1
Emerging markets of Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia continued to deliver significant year on year increases in net fee income.
Solid performance in Europe with net fee income up 12% in constant currency.
Contract business in France and Benelux continued to perform well.
Permanent recruitment activity levels remained strong in Spain and Ireland.
Other International, comprising the US, Middle East, South Africa and Brazil, net fee income up 44% in constant currency.
US continues to grow strongly. Middle East increased net fee income in excess of 100% year on year.
Group headcount of 2,708 (31 December 2014: 2,631).
Strong balance sheet with net cash of £13.1m as at 31 March 2015 (31 March 2014: £7.4m).
Financial and operational highlights
Robert Walters, chief executive, commented, “We had a strong first quarter increasing net fee income in constant currency by 15%. The Group has real strength, depth and diversity in terms of geography and discipline and it has been very pleasing to see excellent results from both our established and emerging recruitment businesses and from Resource Solutions, the Group’s recruitment outsourcing business.
“The strong growth in net fee income, coupled with our ongoing focus on increasing consultant productivity has enabled the Group to continue to benefit from operational gearing. The Board is therefore confident that profit for the year will be ahead of current market expectations.”
Fiona Cincotta, senior market analyst at Finspreads, said, "Robert Walters reported an excellent start to 2015 gross profit increasing 12% to £53.9 million in the first quarter from £48.1 million. It reported gross profit gains across all regions but with the UK as a stand-out performer with gross profit up 22%.
"The white collar recruiter has positioned itself well to take advantage of the broad upturn in permanent recruitment activity in both London and outer regions. It is perhaps better placed than its competitors due to its strength from diversity of disciplines, as the firm was quick to move away from financial recruiting following the crash. However today’s results show that Robert Walters is also finding strength from diversity in geographic regions as well, with its emerging markets arm reporting an increase in gross profits of 8% to £21.2 million after it expanded into new markets of Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia."
The market was quick to react to the encouraging results with shares trading up over 5.8% in the morning session.
The Group will publish a trading update for the three months ending 30 June 2015 on 7 July 2015.