Listed recruitment company Hays plc is seeing increasing signs of weakening business confidence in Germany and Britain, sending its shares down as much as 5 per cent despite posting higher annual net fees.
Annual pretax profit of Hays, which is largely focused on hiring for white collar roles, fell 3 per cent, mainly due to the costs of restructuring its operations in Europe.
It posted a 5 per cent rise in annual net fees to £1.13 billion (€1.25 billion) as fees in Germany, UK and Ireland grew. However, chief executive Alistair Cox lamented the uncertainty surrounding Britain's plans to exit the European Union, which has slowed investment, but remained optimistic about weathering the event.
“Businesses [in the UK] have been waiting to have some certainty as to the outcome of the whole Brexit process,” Cox said. “What businesses find difficult to deal with is a complete lack of certainty.”
“We survived the global financial crisis back in 2008-09... businesses came through it,” Cox said.
Hays also warned of a likely impact from a weakness in Germany’s economy, its largest market which accounted for nearly 26 per cent of its total fees. - Reuters