FINANCIALS: PageGroup posts slight fall in profits

PageGroup has posted a marginal decline gross profit year-on-year, according to a trading update for Q4 and full year 2019.

According to trading update released by the global specialist recruiter late last week, revenue fell 0.4% in constant currency year-on-year from £33.5m in Q4 2018 to £31.9m in Q4 2019.

GP rose across the group in the Americas and EMEA – up 5% and 2.3% in constant currency respectively, while the group posted 7.9% and 4.8% declines in GP in Asia Pacific and the UK respectively constant currency.

For the full year, the group reported a 5% increase in GP, with the Americas the standout performer. In the UK, GP was down 2.4% year-on-year in constant currency.

Commenting 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.

“As a result of the heightened geopolitical and macro-economic uncertainty seen in a number of the group’s markets, fee earner headcount reduced by 54 in Q4, mainly in Greater China and the UK.

“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 Americas, the weak financial services market in New York, as well as social unrest in Chile are expected to continue to impact the region’s results. In the UK, Brexit-related uncertainty is expected to be ongoing 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 £200m-£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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