FINANCIALS: Robert Walters reports ‘positive momentum’ for business

Global recruiter Robert Walters reports “profit ahead of expectations” for the first quarter ended 31 March 2021, according to its financial results released today.

Gross profit, or net fee income (NFI), for the entire Robert Walters Group was reported at £77.3m, down from £87.4m for 2020, or 12% actual year-on-year. The 2021 first quarter’s returns reflected “significant improvement” on the 24%, 31% and 33% actual declines of the preceding three quarters.

A statement from the company said: “Positive trading momentum continued through the first quarter underpinned by further signs of improving market conditions across the group’s major regions.”

Activity levels across permanent, contract, interim and recruitment process outsourcing all trended “positively” through the quarter, the statement said.

Currently 78% of the group’s NFI now comes from international operations, an increase of 1% from the same time in 2020. 

Highlights include:

  • Asia Pacific now accounts for 42% of group NFI, compared to 39% in 2020. However, the region’s NFI was down 5% actual year-on-year from 2020.
  • Japan is currently the group’s most profitable business. The regions of New Zealand and China returned to growth, increasing NFI by 22% actual and 57% actual, respectively.
  • Europe NFI was down 14% in actual terms.
  • UK NFI was down 12%. However, the statement said: “Despite a hard lockdown spanning the entire quarter, there were early signs of an improvement in client and candidate confidence, particularly in London and across the legal and technology disciplines. Client volumes improved significantly in the company’s RPO business, Resource Solutions, as the quarter progressed.
  • In Other International (the Americas, South Africa and the Middle East), NFI was down 31% in actual terms. The company saw strong performance in Chile with a 46% NFI increase in actual terms. New York experienced a “difficult quarter”, the company said.
  • Most of the company’s offices are open. 
  • Headcount increased in markets and disciplines showing the strongest growth, the company said. The headcount rise was 74 during the quarter, bringing group headcount to 3,221 in the first quarter from 3,147 at the end of December.

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