Staffing firm Randstad's earnings hit by slowdown at German carmakers

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Netherlands-based staffing group Randstad RAND.AS on Tuesday said its underlying earnings fell 4% in the second quarter, below analyst forecasts, due to a slowdown in Europe, particularly among German automotive manufacturers.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of personnel service provider Randstad is seen at an office building in Zurich, Switzerland October 2, 2018. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

Earnings before interest, taxation and amortization (EBITA) fell to 277 million euros ($309.91 million) in the three months through June.

Analysts polled by Randstad had on average forecast EBITA of 281 million euros, slightly lower than a restated 288 million euros in the same quarter a year earlier.

Group revenue sank 1.7% to 5.96 billion euros in the quarter. Analysts had on average expected revenue to be roughly flat at 6 billion euros. Net income fell 13% to 166 million, missing a consensus estimate of 199 million euros.

Slightly more than half the decline in sales was due to the slowdown in the automotive sector, CFO Henry Schirmer said in an interview, citing concerns over global trade and the shift away from diesel vehicles.

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“We planned for a weaker Europe for the remainder of the year and take measures accordingly,” Schirmer said, adding that it was not planning job cuts.

Randstad said business in early July indicated the trend was continuing.

The weakest region in the second quarter was Germany, where revenue tumbled 15%, followed by a 4% fall in Belgium and Luxembourg and a 3% decrease in the Netherlands.

In North America, where Randstad owns job site Monster, sales rose 1% to 1.1 billion euros, and sales rose 10% in the rest of the world.

Despite tougher markets, the company lifted its gross margin to 20%, increased market share and staffing placement fees, Schirmer said.

Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Louise Heavens