Po­lit­i­cal un­rest could dam­age re­cruit­ment com­pany Page Group

Yorkshire Post - Business - - BUSINESS -

RE­CRUIT­MENT GI­ANT Page Group has warned that po­lit­i­cal tur­moil in Bri­tain, Spain and Brazil poses a risk to the busi­ness as it un­veiled a rise in group prof­its.

Page said it was pleased with the group’s fi­nan­cial per­for­mance in the first quar­ter, but that it faces un­cer­tain­ties around Brexit, and the up­com­ing elec­tions in Brazil.

Group profit rose by 10.3 per cent to £187.7m in a record quar­ter for the group, with prof­its in Europe, the Mid­dle East and Africa ris­ing by 18.2 per cent.

Profit in France and Ger­many, which rep­re­sent a quar­ter of the group, in­creased by 18 per cent and 28 per cent re­spec­tively.

How­ever, gross profit in the UK, which ac­counts for around a fifth of the busi­ness, fell by 7.1 per cent.

The com­pany said this was due to a drop in con­fi­dence, par­tic­u­larly within its re­cruit­ment agency Michael Page, and the tim­ing of Easter.

Steve Ing­ham, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Page, said the group was on track to meet the mar­ket con­sen­sus for full-year op­er­at­ing profit of £132m.

“We are pleased with the strong group per­for­mance in the first quar­ter, which was achieved de­spite the tim­ing of Easter, and we are en­cour­aged by the growth seen in the ma­jor­ity of our mar­kets,” he said.

“How­ever, a num­ber of macroe­co­nomic un­cer­tain­ties re­main, in­clud­ing Brexit in the UK, chal­lenges in Cat­alo­nia, po­ten­tial im­pact from strikes in France, and Brazil’s forth­com­ing elec­tions.”

The Amer­i­cas now rep­re­sent the fastest-grow­ing mar­ket for the group. The US, which ac­counts for more than half of Page’s busi­ness in the re­gion, posted growth of 17 per cent.

Shares in the group fell by more than 2 per cent.

Russ Mould, in­vest­ment di­rec­tor at AJ Bell, said that al­though the com­pany was stick­ing to its con­sen­sus fore­casts for 2018, the cau­tious out­look sug­gested the ex­ec­u­tives were “hedg­ing their bets”.

“The rea­son for weak­ness could be an un­der­whelm­ing UK per­for­mance and a fairly down­beat out­look state­ment along­side the up­date,” he said.

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