FINANCIALS: Robert Walters says UK fall offset by strong international growth

International net fee income growth helped offset an 8% decline in year-on-year net fees for Robert Walters.

According to a trading update for the quarter ended 30 June, the global specialist recruiter saw NFI increase year-on-year across all regions bar the UK – up 18% in constant currency in ‘other international’, 13% in constant currency in Europe, and up 7% in constant currency in Asia Pacific contributing to an overall increase in group NFI of 5% year-on-year, from £99.9m to £106.4m. 

In the UK the group saw NFI fall 8% in constant currency.

Speaking to Recruiter this morning, CFO Alan Bannatyne said the group had benefited from being a “truly diversified global business”.

“We are brand positioned Asia-Pac first and foremost as the number one professional specialist recruitment. Japan historically is still our number one profit centre – it’s a great market.

“Notwithstanding that, European growth was the fastest growth for the group. We saw bounce-back in France with the gilet jaune [Yellow vests movement] stopping their protests, which is quite helpful. Four countries all saw 15% growth in Europe.”

Turning to the UK, Bannatyne told Recruiter while the UK only represents 24% of the group’s earnings, it is a difficult market right now, and Brexit uncertainty and a leadership election to decide the country’s next prime minister was not helpful.

“The one thing that we are fortunate is that from a foreign exchange perspective, if there is significant harm to the UK economy, we get 76% of our earnings in foreign exchange and that is likely to be a huge stabiliser for the group…

“It’s mixed results across the regions but profits are in line with expectations. It’s the benefit of being diversified, a strong balance sheet. We’re very happy with the cash position at the end of the quarter. We can see areas of significant upside to next year but clearly I don’t have a crystal ball and it’s not all healthy.”

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