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PageGroup Q1 Gross Profit Up 11.2%; Sees 2019 Operating Profit In Line With View

PageGroup plc (PAGE.L), a specialist professional recruitment company, reported that its first quarter gross profit was 208.8 million pounds, up 11.7% in constant currencies and 11.2% in reported rates. In constant currencies, Michael Page grew 9.9%, with Page Personnel growing faster, up 15.6% in the quarter.

In Asia Pacific, gross profit grew 14.9% to 38.2 million pounds. EMEA gross profit grew 11.4% to 104.1 million pounds.

The UK grew 1.7%, its third consecutive quarter of marginal growth, despite continued Brexit related uncertainty impacting candidate and client confidence. Page Personnel, which represents a quarter of the UK, grew 10%.

Gross profit from permanent recruitment grew 11.5% in reported rates and 11.8% in constant currencies, to 158.5 million pounds.

The company noted that it will continue to focus on driving profitable growth, while continuing our strategic investments towards our Vision of 10,000 headcount, 1 billion pounds of gross profit and 200 million pounds - 250 million pounds of operating profit.

The company said it was pleased with the Group's performance in the first-quarter and, at this early stage in the year, expects 2019 operating profit to be in line with consensus. The company compiled consensus for 2019 operating profit of 160.4 million pounds.

Having added 619 fee earners in 2018, the company added a further 41 in the first-quarter. Fee earner additions were mainly into markets where the company saw the strongest growth, while fee earner headcount in the UK declined by 35 through natural attrition.

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