FINANCIALS: PageGroup annual group profits up but UK profits down

While PageGroup has seen annual group gross profits climb 14.6%, their UK business has not fared quite so well, according to full-year results for the year ended 31 December 2017.

The results, released this morning, reveal group revenue rose to £1,371.5m from £1,196.1m in 2016, with GP up 14.6% from £621m to £711.6m year-on-year led by strong performances in France, Germany, Spain, Greater China, Latin America, South East Asia and the US.

However, within the UK the group saw GP fall 3.8% from £146.3m to £140.8m year-on-year amid “challenging” market conditions for the group’s legal, sales and marketing divisions. 

Commenting on the results and the outlook, PageGroup CEO Steve Ingham pointed to 2017 as “a year of many records”. 

“We delivered our best ever GP for the group, as well as for each of our five large high potential markets and three of our four regions. At the end of the year, we had a record number of fee earners, as well as our highest ever fee earner to operational support staff ratio.

“GP increased by 9.8% and operating profit by 11.3% in constant currencies … This was driven by a combination of improved business performance and operational efficiencies, broadly offset by challenging economic conditions in markets such as Australia, Brazil, Singapore and the UK. 

“We continue to invest in our digital strategy to consistently improve how we source and then engage with our customers. Our websites and advertising programmes continue to drive applications with almost all countries hitting all-time highs in January 2018 to increase awareness of our brands. 

“In 2018 we will continue to invest in our large high potential markets, as well as in markets with favourable trading conditions. However, we remain cautious in several markets as we progress through the year: primarily in the UK, where we will focus on protecting margins; in Australia, where we have invested in headcount and a new office in Canberra; and in Brazil, which remains challenging, despite a stronger performance in the fourth quarter.”

In a separate announcement the group revealed independent non-executive director Danuta Gray has decided not to put herself forward for re-election at the forthcoming Annual General Meeting on 7 June 2018.

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