LONDON Jan 14 British recruitment firm
PageGroup said conditions for the global labour market
were showing signs of recovery after its Europe, Middle East and
Africa division posted the first rise in reported quarterly
growth since 2012.
The region, which is its largest division making up around
40 percent of the group, said profit was up 1.1 percent on a
reported basis in the fourth quarter, helped by a marked
improvement in Germany and France.
Gross profit for the group was down 1.2 percent due to
weakness in Asia Pacific, but up 0.3 percent on a constant
"Our two biggest businesses which are France and Germany
both radically improved in the quarter to now only just being
negative, which is a good step forward," Chief Executive Steve
Ingham told Reuters in a phone interview.
The firm, formerly Michael Page International, said it had
also seen improving performances in Spain, which grew 20 percent
in the last quarter, as well as Russia and Turkey.
The U.S. posted the most significant growth, where the
market grew at 35 percent throughout 2013, while Japan and
Malaysia also traded strongly.
"Over the last four quarters, our overall figures have been
gradually improving ... and that has been very reassuring," said
"We had improved performances from over half of the 34
countries which we operate ... I have to say I am feeling far
more positive going into 2014 than I was 2013," he added.
PageGroup, which specialises in professional areas such as
accounting and finance, said it expected operating profit to be
around 68 million pounds ($111.40 million).
Analysts said the statement showed PageGroup trading in line
with peers, but shares in the group were down 3 percent in
mid-morning trading, after a strong run before the results.
"Recruitment markets are clearly recovering, though we
remain sceptical that the pace of this recovery will be rapid
enough to justify current ratings," Panmure said. "We leave our
forecasts and recommendation unchanged."