UPDATE 1-Hays boosted by strong growth in Germany

Tue Oct 9, 2012 3:14am EDT

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LONDON Oct 9 (Reuters) - Recruitment firm Hays reported a better than expected 1 percent fall in first quarter net fees as strong growth in Germany, Brazil and Canada helped ride out a slowdown in its Australian resources market.

The British firm, which specialises in placing workers in accountancy, construction and IT jobs, posted a 16 percent rise in net fee growth in its Continental Europe and Rest of World division, with fees in Germany up a record 25 percent.

Shares in the FTSE 250 firm were up 6 percent to 80.15 pence at 0708 GMT, with analysts at Jefferies saying the results were better than feared, having estimated a 4 percent net fee fall.

"Combined with strong cost control, we suspect profitability may be running ahead of our H1 estimate," analysts said.

Hays said fees in Asia Pacific, a region that has in the past helped ease the pain of struggling markets elsewhere, dropped 9 percent in the quarter to September 30 with the Australian resources market beginning to slow.

Hays' UK market also saw a 9 percent slip in net fee growth.

The recruitment sector has suffered heavily in the last year as a deteriorating outlook for the economy and weakness in the banking sector has led to companies delaying hiring and workers being more cautious about changing jobs in many markets.

On Monday rival recruiter Michael Page International issued a profit warning, blaming a sharp deterioration in euro zone markets as the region's debt crisis increasingly weighs on the real economy.

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