January 10, 2018 / 7:38 AM / 7 months ago

UPDATE 1-PageGroup reports Q4 profit rise, reiterates caution on UK market

(Adds CEO comment, FY forecast, background)

Jan 10 (Reuters) - British recruitment firm PageGroup Plc reported a a rise in fourth-quarter gross profit on Wednesday, but said it remained cautious about the UK market in 2018.

The company, which finds candidates mainly to fill permanent positions rather than temporary roles, said gross profit from its British operations fell 2.8 percent to 32.9 million pounds ($44.48 million) at constant currencies in the three months to Dec. 31.

“The UK continued to experience challenging market conditions, with the macro environment impacting some clients and senior candidates,” Chief Executive Steve Ingham said in a statement.

However, the group’s gross profit rose 13.8 percent to 182.4 million pounds in the fourth quarter, helped by strong trading in Continental Europe, Asia and the Americas.

Most British staffing companies are relying on their overseas business to drive growth as uncertainty following Britain’s June 2016 vote to leave the European Union curbs domestic demand. PageGroup said its full-year operating profit is expected to be ahead of consensus, but within the range of current market forecasts. ($1 = 0.7396 pounds) (Reporting by Radhika Rukmangadhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Amrutha Gayathri)

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