Recruiter Hays announced today that its net fees grew by seven per cent overall on a like-for-like basis for the quarter ending 31 December 2015.
In a trading update about its second quarter performance ahead of its interim results in February, Hays revealed that market conditions had been slightly challenging in Asia Pacific and the UK and Ireland, where net fees grew in both regions by just one per cent like-for-like.
On the other hand, in Continental Europe and the rest of the world, net fees grew by 16 per cent like-for-like, with growth in Germany being particularly strong.
Although share price in the company initially rose sharply after the announcement was made, it finished down 0.5 per cent at 120.6p.
Tough conditions in the mining industry were given as part of the reason for the slowdown in Asia Pacific fees, while the public sector jobs market was partly behind the slower growth in the UK and Ireland.
“As ever, activity levels at the start of the new year will be an important driver of the Group’s second half performance and, while we are mindful of the greater uncertainty our world faces today, we continue to see many opportunities to drive growth,” said Alistair Cox, chief executive of Hays. “Against this backdrop, our focus remains on continual improvement in business productivity and disciplined cost control in order to maximise the conversion of net fee growth into profit and cash.”
The company also reported good cash performance and noted that it intended to eliminate its net debt, which stood at around £57m at the end of December 2015, by the year end.