Robert Walters profits up 74% in H1
% change (constant currency*)
Gross profit (net fee income)
Profit before taxation
Basic earnings per share
* Constant currency is calculated by applying prior period exchange rates to local currency results for the current and prior periods.
Europe net fee income is up 2% (14%*) to £22.3m (£24.9m*) (2014: £21.9m) and operating profit is up 91% (142%*) to £1.0m (£1.3m*) (2014: £0.5m). There was an excellent performance in the Netherlands across both permanent and contract. There was another period of strong growth in Spain and Ireland, a continuation of the recovery we have seen over the last two years, plus there was solid performance from the contract business in France, whilst permanent recruitment remains challenging.
Asia Pacific net fee income is up 9% (10%*) to £47.0m (£47.7m*) (2014: £43.3m) and operating profit is up 37% (45%*) to £4.7m (£4.9m*) (2014: £3.4m). There was strong growth across emerging markets with net fee income in Indonesia, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam all growing in excess of 100% year-on-year. The larger business in Thailand also delivered an exceptional performance. There was some progress in Australia but market remains challenging. New Zealand performed well and there was solid performances from established and market-leading businesses in Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore.
Other International net fee income is up 31% (24%*) to £5.9m (£5.6m*) (2014: £4.5m) and saw operating profit of £0.4m (£0.3m*) (2014: break-even). There were record performances in the US, Middle East and South Africa, but market conditions in Brazil remain tough. Resource Solutions, the Group's recruitment process outsourcing business, continued to deliver good net fee income growth across both new and existing clients. Group headcount increased by 9% to 2,728 (2014: 2,496), interim dividend increased by 18% to 1.95p per share (2014: 1.65p) and there was a strong balance sheet with net cash of £14.6m as of 30th June 2015 (30 June 2014: £14.7m).
Robert Walters, chief executive, said, "The Group has produced a strong first half performance delivering a substantial 74% increase in profit before taxation despite foreign exchange headwinds. All of the Group's regions performed well with both client and candidate confidence improving across most of our markets. Particularly encouraging is the impressive growth we are seeing from our newer businesses in emerging markets in Asia and further signs of a recovery in financial services.
"The Group's excellent trading performance, underpinned by our ongoing focus on consultant productivity has enabled us to continue to deliver strong operational gearing during the first half. Current trading is in line with our expectations and the Group remains confident of its outlook for the full year."
The Company will publish an interim management statement for the third quarter ending 30 September 2015 on 6 October 2015.