PageGroup gross profit up 12.5% in UK
Q3 GROSS PROFIT ANALYSIS
% of Group
Steve Ingham, chief executive officer, said, "The Group delivered a fifth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth, up 10.2% in constant currencies. Foreign exchange volatility has been a feature all year and it continued to impact our results, reducing third quarter growth to 4.8% in reported rates.
"Market and trading conditions across and within our regions were mixed. EMEA recorded its best quarter for almost four years, with particularly strong performances from France, Germany and Southern Europe. The UK delivered another quarter of solid growth. Greater China improved sequentially, despite ongoing economic concerns for the region, and the United States continues to grow strongly and now represents the Group's fourth largest country by gross profit. Elsewhere, trading conditions in Brazil continued to deteriorate and Australia remained challenging.
"With 68% of fee earners live on the system, the roll-out of our new Page Recruiting System continues to progress well. We still anticipate that 80% of the Group's fee earners will be on the system by the end of the year. Each PRS roll-out also sees the introduction of our next generation website to that country, one part of our approach to ongoing candidate acquisition. LinkedIn is another significant channel for us to acquire candidates and clients. We are therefore very proud that last week LinkedIn named PageGroup as globally the Most Socially Engaged Recruiter in 2015.
"Having increased our fee earners by 25 in the first half, we accelerated our investment during the quarter, adding 136 fee earners primarily into markets where growth was strongest, as well as 24 operational support staff. We maintained our fee earner to operational support staff ratio at 77:23, with the majority of operational support staff additions joining our European Shared Service Centre.
"We are pleased with our performance in the third quarter and, despite the short visibility and challenging conditions in a number of our markets, the Group's outlook remains positive for the rest of the year. Cash generation in the period was particularly strong with net cash of c.£130m at the quarter end, before payment of interim and special dividends of £61.3m on 2 October. Save for any further movements in foreign exchange, the Board's expectation for the full year remains unchanged."