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PageGroup Q4 Gross Profit Down 2.6%

PageGroup plc. (MPGPF.PK,PAGE.L), a specialist professional recruitment company, reported fourth quarter gross profit of 205.6 million pounds, a decline of 0.4% in constant currencies and 2.6% in reported rates. In constant currencies, Michael Page was down 0.1%, with Page Personnel declining 1.0% in the quarter.

The Group was impacted by adverse foreign exchange movements during the fourth-quarter, decreasing its reported gross profit by 2.2 percentage points or 4.6 million pounds.

Fee earner headcount reduced by 54 in the fourth-quarter, as a result of the heightened geopolitical and macro-economic uncertainty seen in a number of the Group's markets, mainly in Greater China and the UK.

In EMEA, quarterly gross profit grew 2.3% to 103.6 million pounds, down from growth of 5.6% in the third-quarter as macro-economic uncertainty continued to impact market confidence.

In Asia Pacific, gross profit declined 7.9% to 37.5 million pounds in the fourth-quarter. Greater China declined 14%.

In the Americas, gross profit grew 5.0% to 32.6 million pounds. The US grew 10%, despite a weaker Financial Services sector in New York, with particularly strong growth in Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles.

The gross profit in the UK declined 4.8%, with disruption from Brexit increasing uncertainty and impacting confidence.

Looking ahead, the company said it will continue to focus on driving profitable growth, while progressing its strategic investments towards its Vision of 10,000 headcount, 1 billion pounds of gross profit and 200 million pounds - 250 million pounds of operating profit.

The company expects fiscal year 2019 operating profit to be in line with its previous guidance of 140 million pounds to 150 million pounds, despite the increased tough trading conditions in the fourth-quarter.

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