Robert Walters buoyed by rise in UK hiring

WHITE-COLLAR recruiter Robert Walters yesterday announced a five per cent rise in second-quarter gross profit, as an improved business environment encouraged firms to bring more permanent employees on board.

The company, which places workers in engineering, legal, marketing and banking jobs, said it expected full-year profit before tax to be at the upper end of market expectations – just over £12m.

“Good performance maintained across the UK, with accounting and legal the standout performers in both London and the regions,” the company said in a statement.

Gross profit or net fee income – a relevant performance indicator for recruitment companies – jumped to £53.9m in the three months ended 30 June, from £51.1m last year.

“The group continues to increase its market share and we believe it is in a strong position going into a cyclical upturn, given the diverse geographic mix and broad base of sector specialisms,” said Investec analyst Andrew Gibb in a note to clients. Gibb has a “buy” rating on the stock with a price target of 375p, and yesterday raised his full-year profit forecast from £12m to £12.9m.

Shares in the London-listed group closed up 1.2 per cent at 315.25p.