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Hays Q2 Group Net Fees Up 9% On Like-for-like Basis

Hays plc. (HAS.L) reported that its Group net fees for the second quarter ended 31 December 2018 increased 8% on a headline basis and 9% on a like-for-like basis versus the prior year.

Growth was 9% in both Temp and Perm businesses, which represented 58% and 42% of net fees respectively.

In the quarter, Germany benefitted from two additional trading days versus prior year, due to one fewer public holiday and the timing of another. The company estimates that this had 3% positive impact in Germany and a 1% positive impact on Group net fees.

Consultant headcount was up 2% in the quarter and up 7% year-on-year, with ongoing selective investment in markets where we see strong growth opportunities such as Germany, the USA and Asia.

Exchange rate movements remain a material sensitivity to the Group's reported profitability. If we re-translate FY18 profits of 243.4 million pounds at 11 January 2019 exchange rates (AUD1.7822 and €1.1209), the company currently estimates a negative 1 million pounds operating profit currency headwind for fiscal year 2019. This represents a negative 4 million pounds reversal from the position at preliminary results on 30 August 2018.

Australia & New Zealand delivered another good quarter with net fees up 8%, despite increasingly tough comparatives.

The company noted that the largest market of Germany delivered another strong quarter with 15% net fee growth (underlying 12% adjusted for working days), against increasingly tough comparatives.

Net fee growth in the United Kingdom & Ireland (UK&I) was 3%, led by public sector business, which represents 28% of UK&I net fees, up 12%.

The company said Rest of World division, encompassing 28 countries, delivered strong net fee growth of 10%, including eight country net fee records. 15 countries grew by more than 10%.

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