Michael Page reaps the rewards of Asia job boom

RECRUITER Michael Page posted a 30 per cent jump in first-quarter gross profit, boosted by growth in the Asia-Pacific region, and said it was well placed to exceed last year’s profit.

Michael Page, which finds jobs for people in the financial, accounting and legal services sectors, said yesterday its operating profit to the end of March, 2011 was £127.3m compared with £97.9m for the same period in 2010. In the UK profit was up 9.4 per cent, with private sector growth countered by a fall in the public sector.

“We’ve followed the pattern of last year of everything growing, including Holland which was perhaps our one Achilles heel last year,” chief executive Steve Ingham said.

Shares in the FTSE 250 company, which said it would resume with share repurchases for cancellation during the second-quarter, closed 1.6 per cent higher at 525.5p after the announcement.

“Within a recruitment sector that we like anyway, we regard Michael Page as a very well-managed business with strong recovery prospects and reiterate our ‘Buy’ recommendation,” Investec analysts wrote in a note yesterday.