Michael Page profit slips

City A.M. Reporter
Recruitment firm Michael Page International said it expected a challenging third quarter as economic uncertainty disrupted British and European markets, after posting a slip in second-quarter profit.

The British firm, which places people in accounting, financial and legal jobs across 35 countries, said on Monday second-quarter gross profit was £138m, 6.6 per cent below what was its second highest quarter on record in the same period in 2011.

The figure was up 1.6 per cent on the first quarter of 2012. Michael Page said it expected half and full year operating profit to be "broadly in line" with market estimates, excluding restructuring charges from recent management changes.

Gross profit in its largest region, Europe, Middle East and Africa, fell as markets choked on uncertainty surrounding the eurozone crisis, with Asia Pacific the only region to grow in the quarter against 2011 comparators.

"We anticipate a challenging third quarter as we enter the seasonally quieter summer period in Continental Europe and the UK, against tough comparables and an ongoing backdrop of economic uncertainty," Chief Executive Steve Ingham said.

In a Reuters interview last month the firm said high growth Asian and Latin American markets would help ride out tough European conditions, adding that it also wanted to increase its presence in Africa's booming resource regions.

Last week rival recruiter Robert Walters posted a three per cent dip in second-quarter gross profit as slow banking markets hit its core Asia Pacific market.