Recruiter Hays expects rise in profit after strong third quarter

Shares in the group fell by more than 6% in early trading due to election uncertainty

Recruitment group Hays said it expected to see an improvement in second-half operating profit after reporting an underlying 8 per cent rise in third-quarter net fees, reflecting strong demand in Britain, continental Europe and Asia.

The company, which places workers in areas such as finance, construction and IT, said it expected second-half operating profit to be slightly ahead of its first-half level of £81.5 million (€112.7m).

"We expect to drive strong profits this year and we expect the second-half profits to be ahead of the first-half profit, which would mean that our like-for-like profitability would be up by 25 per cent or more," chief financial officer Paul Venables told Reuters.

However, shares in the company fell by more than 6 per cent in early trading after it reported a slowdown in UK net fee growth ahead of national elections in May, as companies held back on hiring decisions.

Hays reported growth in all of its regions, with France, China, the United States and Japan all reporting net fee growth of more than 10 per cent. It also raised its consultant headcount by 3 per cent in the third quarter.

– Reuters