July 7, 2014 / 7:00 AM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-Robert Walters profit up on improved UK hiring

(Adds analyst comment, details)

July 7 (Reuters) - White-collar recruiter Robert Walters Plc reported a 5 percent rise in second-quarter gross profit, as an improved business environment encouraged firms to bring more permanent employees on board.

The staffing company, which places workers in engineering, legal, marketing and banking jobs, said it expects full-year profit before tax to be at the upper end of market expectations.

Analysts on average expect a full-year pretax profit of 12.13 million pounds, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

"Good performance maintained across the UK, with accounting and legal the standout performers in both London and the regions," the company said in a statement.

Gross profit or net fee income - a relevant performance indicator for recruitment companies - rose to 53.9 million pounds ($91.72 million) in the three months ended June 30 from 51.1 million pounds a year earlier.

"The group continues to increase its market share and we believe it is in a strong position going into a cyclical upturn..." Investec analyst Andrew Gibb said in a note to clients.

Gibb has a "buy" rating on the stock with a price target of 375 pence.

London-listed Robert Walters's shares closed at 311.50 pence on Friday.

$1 = 0.5877 British pounds Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bangalore; Editing by Sunil Nair

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