FINANCIALS: Robert Walters sees 25% profit fall

Global recruiter Robert Walters experienced a 25% drop in group net fee income for the fourth quarter of 2020 year-on-year, according to the company’s trading update.

However, that figure represented an improvement on declines in the second and third quarters of last year, the company reported today [12 January].

Group headcount also was down in Q4 year-on-year from 2019, dropping by 880, or roughly 25%, between the two periods.

While the company’s “forward visibility remains limited”, CEO Robert Walters said: “I am however pleased to say that the better-than-expected performance in the fourth quarter, coupled with the sensible and targeted short-term cost reduction and control measures that were put in place at the beginning of the pandemic, means that profit for the full year is likely to be ahead of current market expectations.”

Asia Pacific, the group’s largest region, in particular was showing “signs of improvement” going forward. The company also reported that demand had remained “robust” during the pandemic across technology, digital, healthcare, supply chain and logistics.

The “large majority” of Robert Walters offices are open, the company said, adding, “however the picture is volatile and changes frequently depending on local infection rates and government policy”.  

A pre-Covid investment in technology has provided “a competitive advantage with all staff continuing to work seamlessly and productively whether in the office or remotely”, the company statement said.

The company’s net cash at 31 December 2020 was £154.8m, compared to £85.8m at the same time in 2019. The group also has a £60m committed loan facility due for renewal in 2023.

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