UK recruiter Hays boosts dividend, posts higher annual profit

(Reuters) - British recruitment company Hays Plc HAYS.L on Thursday declared a special dividend and boosted its full-year dividend by 18 percent, as it reported higher annual profit thanks to stronger growth in Germany, Australia and the United Kingdom.

Like other British recruiters, Hays has benefited from growth in its international business.

Though uncertainty over Britain’s planned departure from the European Union forced Hays to keep a tight lid on costs at home, it said its UK business saw strong performance.

“We further strengthened our leading positions in key markets like Australia and Germany, and our UK business delivered a good profit performance, despite macro uncertainty,” Chief Executive Alistair Cox said in a statement.

Hays proposed a special dividend of 72.9 million pounds, or 5 pence per share, and declared a full-year core dividend of 3.81 pence a share, higher than the 3.22 pence declared a year earlier.

The company’s pretax profit rose 17 percent year-over-year to 238.5 million pounds in the year ended June 30, while net fees climbed 12 percent to 1.07 billion pounds.

Its Germany business saw a 16 percent increase in net fees while Australia and New Zealand markets recorded 14 percent growth in net fee and operating profit.

Reporting by Justin George Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar