Michael Page predicts solid annual profit

City A.M. Reporter
RECRUITER Michael Page expects 2010 profit to be marginally ahead of consensus after strong demand for permanent placements in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East boosted its fourth quarter.

Michael Page said yesterday its gross profit for the fourth quarter was up 32 per cent at £119.8m, taking the full-year figure up 26 per cent.

The fourth quarter was boosted by growth in Asia, Latin America, the big markets in Europe and the Middle East and an improving picture in the UK.

Trading was boosted by an almost 70 per cent jump in fourth-quarter gross profit in the Asia Pacific region, which accounts for 17 per cent of the group. Europe, Middle East and Africa, 44 per cent of the group, was up 25 per cent.

The UK, which has struggled in recent years and which accounts for 26 per cent of the group, was up 16 per cent. The Americas were up by 62 per cent.

“I am delighted to report another strong quarter of organic growth in year-on-year gross profit, up 32 per cent, with all regions improving,” chief executive Steve Ingham said.

“Most of this growth came from permanent recruitment, up 40 per cent, with temporary recruitment growth rates also improving, now up 10 per cent.”

There were also positive results from professional services recruiter Hydrogen Group, which saw its net fee income grow by 60 per cent from £17m in 2009 to £27m at the end of 2010.

Founded in 1976 in London to provide specialist recruitment for accounting and finance.

Posted a 26 per cent boost in global gross profits for 2010, with total profits rising £90.4m to £442.1m.