FINANCIALS: International operations boosts UK decline for PageGroup

Gross profit growth across its international operations has helped international recruiter PageGroup offset a 2.4% decline in GP in the UK.

According to a trading update for Q2 2019, released this morning, the group saw GP growth of 9%, 4.7% and 17.4% in EMEA, Asia Pacific and the Americas respectively, contributing to a 7.4% increase in group GP year-on-year – from £208.2m to £224.6m. In the UK, GP fell from £35.9m to £35m.

Across H1 as a whole, the group saw GP rise 9.5% from £396m to £433.5m.

Elaborating on the group’s performance, chief financial officer Kelvin Stagg said the firm had delivered a record quarter, with GP growth of 7.4% in constant currencies and 16 countries growing in excess of 10%.

“Our five large, high potential markets of Germany, Greater China, South East Asia, the US and Latin America grew 14% collectively. Germany grew 24%, with a standout performance from our interim business, which is mainly technology focused, up 47%. Greater China’s growth slowed to -1%, with confidence continuing to be affected by trade tariff uncertainty and more recently, social unrest in Hong Kong. 

“In our six large, proven markets, the UK was down 2.4%, due to continued Brexit-related uncertainty. France grew 6%, the Netherlands 12%, but Italy slowed to 7%, reflecting the weaker market conditions. Australia and Spain both delivered growth, up 4% and 3%, respectively. Outside these two categories, we saw good growth in the majority of our other markets, with an outstanding performance in India, which grew 52%.”

Stagg added that having added 619 fee earners in 2018 and 41 in Q1, the group’s fee earner headcount fell by 122 in Q2, with fee earner headcount down in markets where the group encountered more challenging conditions, such as France, Greater China and the UK. 

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