FINANCIALS: PageGroup profits up, but UK falls nearly 5%

Global recruiter PageGroup has seen UK gross profit fall 4.8% year-on-year, according to results for Q4 2019.

The results, released this morning, reveals UK GP fell from £33.5m in Q3 2018 to £31.9m, while GP was down 8.8% in Asia Pacific on the same quarter last year. GP across the group was down 0.4%, with GP down 0.8% in EMEA but up 2.2% across the Americas.

For the full year, the group posted a 5% increase in GP year-on-year, with the Americas and EMEA witnessing 14% and 7% increases in GP on the previous year, helping to offset 2.4% and 0.2% declines in GP on 2018 in the UK and Asia Pacific respectively.

Elaborating on the group’s performance, CEO Steve Ingham said: “The majority of the group’s regions were impacted by macro-economic and political uncertainty in Q4. Consequently, group GP declined 0.4% in constant currencies from growth of 2.1% in Q3. The group delivered strong performances in Germany, India and the US, despite a slowing financial services market in New York. However, trading conditions were more challenging in many of our larger markets, including Greater China, the UK and France. 

“Looking ahead, the tough trading conditions experienced during Q4 across the majority of our regions are anticipated to continue. There are challenges in EMEA, including social unrest in France and heightened political tensions, notably in the Middle East. Asia Pacific continues to be impacted by trade tariff uncertainty in Mainland China, the protests in Hong Kong, as well as the fires in Australia. In the UK, Brexit-related uncertainty is expected to be ongoing during 2020.

“However, we have a flexible and highly diversified business model that enables us to react quickly to changes in market conditions. We are clear market leaders in many of our markets, with a highly experienced senior management team, which, we believe, positions us well to take advantage of all opportunities during 2020.

“We will continue to focus on driving profitable growth, while progressing our strategic investments towards our vision of 10,000 headcount, £1bn of GP and £200-£250m of operating profit. Despite the increased tough trading conditions in Q4, we expect FY2019 operating profit to be in line with our previous guidance of £140m to £150m.”

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