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Recruiter results: CPL and Artner defy battering, Hydrogen succumb

By Dawn Gibson

Irish talent solutions group CPL Resources credit a resilient business model for market-defying earnings growth for the year ended June 30.

However, UK recruiter Hydrogen Group has announced the proposed cancellation of its listing on AIM and accompanying tender offer for its shares, as well as the continued suspension of dividends, after a 79% decline in adjusted profit before tax in the wake of the harsh market conditions ushered in by Covid-19.

CPL Resources

CPL Resources announced a slew of enviable financial results, including a 10% increase in adjusted profit before tax to €27.9 million, a 10% increase in adjusted basic earnings per share to 88.8 cent and 4% increase in gross profit (net fee income) to €100.3 million for the year to June. The company cites several factors underlying its resilience, including strategic and decisive action to manage costs and preserve cash, and continued growth in recurring revenues with flexible talent, including its managed solutions division Covalen, now representing almost 73% of gross profit.

Anne Heraty, CEO, says the strong performance is testament to the success of CPL’s strategy to increase the contribution of recurring revenues across high growth sectors.

“This provides a strong degree of resilience in the face of unprecedented, economic shocks such as the Covid-19 pandemic,” she says. “Our managed solutions division, Covalen, continues to experience strong, consistent growth and is well positioned for future growth both domestically and internationally.

“Since year-end, we have seen an encouraging improvement in permanent fees driven mainly by our technology and finance divisions.”


Japanese technical talent outsourcing service Artner is also defying the climate of uncertainty, reporting in its highest profit on record for FY01/20.

Income and profit rose for the sixth successive period, with sales up 8.0% to ¥3,654 million and profits up 11.4% to ¥332 million, in a market with strong demand in the transportation sector, as well as for software engineers to work on automation projects.

President and CEO Sekiguchi Sozo says the company is predicting annual sales of ¥7,832 million and profits of ¥677 million.

Hydrogen Group

At UK international specialist recruitment company Hydrogen, adjusted profit before tax decreased by 79% to £0.4 million, and NFI decreased by 24% to £11.7 million, in unaudited results released for the half year ended June 30.

The company implemented a range of measures to reduce costs, including a temporary pay cut for all staff globally (with the potential for it to be retrospectively recovered in early 2021 from any profit before tax for 2020), a restructure of parts of its management team and more proactively performance managing several of its weaker performers. These actions, coupled with government support through payment deferral schemes and job protection programmes, enabled Hydrogen to increase net cash during the period to £6.5 million (December 31 2019: £4.5 million, and June 30 2019: £3.4 million).

CEO Ian Temple says the priority had been to ensure staff, clients and candidates were as safe as possible, while also focusing on maintaining the strength of the company’s balance sheet by preserving cash.

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