Shares plummet in headhunter PageGroup as sinking UK profits are blamed on Brexit

Lucy White
An unemployed woman talks with a prospec
The recruiter's fastest growing region was the Americas (Source: Getty)

FTSE 250 recruitment firm PageGroup saw more than nine per cent shaved off its share price today, as UK profits continued to fall.

Although the group delivered gross profit of 8.8 per cent, with strength in continental Europe, the Americas and Asia, the UK suffered.

Profits generated in the region were down 7.6 per cent to £34.9m, making up just 19 per cent of group profits as opposed to 24 per cent for the third quarter last year.

Read more: The City rebuffs Brexit recruitment worries with the number of jobs up by nearly a third in August

“Client and candidate confidence levels [are] continuing to be impacted by the Brexit negotiations and political uncertainty,” said chief executive Steve Ingham.

Interestingly, the part of the business which recruits for temporary positions suffered much less than the branch focusing on permanent roles.

Singapore and Brazil also experienced “challenging market conditions”, while the Americas was the fastest growing region.

Analysts at brokerage Liberum noted that the overall profit growth was higher than consensus expectations, as there was “strong growth in most regions”.

Read more: PageGroup share price rises despite recruiter's gloomy warning of Brexit's future effect on UK jobs market

PageGroup is “well positioned to take advantage of structural growth opportunities in a number of its key markets”, said analyst Rahim Karim.

But he added that the shares were still trading at a premium and “we see much of this priced in”. Liberum reiterated its “hold” rating.

Although the UK was proving a challenge, Ingham said PageGroup would “continue to focus on protecting margins and investing in structural opportunities” in the country.

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