* Expects double-digit growth in Americas in 2014 - CEO
* Sees strong demand for recruitment in life sciences and
* First-quarter gross profit rises 9 pct
* Shares rise 1.05 pct
By Esha Vaish
March 14 British recruiter SThree Plc
reported a 9 percent increase in first-quarter gross profit and
indicated full-year results would rise, helped by strong demand
from the Americas, its fastest growing region.
The company, which owns brands such as Huxley Associates,
Progressive and Computer Futures, said it expects good growth
across most of its major operational regions.
"The strength of our contract book and improving outlook for
permanent give us confidence for the year ahead," Chief
Executive Gary Elden said in a statement.
SThree's comments comes after larger rivals Hays Plc
and Michael Page International said they expect
business to pick up this year.
SThree, which used to recruit largely for information
technology customers, has entered markets such as energy and
life sciences, both of which are experiencing high demand in the
The company expects gross profit to rise at least 20 percent
this year in the region, Elden told Reuters, adding that a
recovery in the banking sector could further boost growth.
That compares with the 49 percent growth in the first
quarter ended March 2, a period which is traditionally stronger
due to the demand during the holiday season.
The America's contribution to total profit rose to 13
percent in the quarter, comprising the lion's shares of the 21
percent contribution to profit from regions outside Europe.
SThree said it also expected strong growth in Asia,
particularly from hiring requirements for life science and IT
professionals in Tokyo.
The largest chunk of SThree's profit comes from the UK and
Ireland, where profit rose 1 percent in the first quarter.
High demand for recruitment in the energy and life sciences
industries saw the two businesses clock profit growth rates of
54 percent and 42 percent, respectively, in the quarter.
At constant currency, SThree's total gross profit or net fee
income - a relevant performance indicator for recruitment
companies - rose to 47.8 million pounds ($79.7 million) in the
quarter from 44.3 million pounds a year earlier.
The company attributed the rise to higher contract
placements, as companies shied away from making full-time hires
amid a tentative pickup in Europe.
The recruiter's stock was up 1.05 percent at 409.50 pence at
1216 GMT on the London Stock Exchange on Friday.
The stock has risen 11 percent since Feb. 3, when the
staffing company hinted at a stronger 2014 on the back of a
strong contract book and growth in permanent headcount. ()