Wednesday 10 July 2019 8:26 am

Page Group warns of lower profits amid economic uncertainty

Recruiter Page Group today warned that global economic uncertainty will hurt profits this year, sending shares 10 per cent lower in early trading.

Challenging macro-economic conditions will send 2019 operating profit down to £161.1m, with the company previously hoping to hit as high as £168m.

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That sent shares down 10 per cent to 454.2p in early morning trading.

The warning came despite a record quarter in which Page delivered a 7.9 per cent growth in gross profits to collect £224.6m, as well as 10 per cent higher revenue from 16 countries.

However, chief financial officer Kelvin Stagg warned that the firm cut 122 roles in the UK and other underperforming markets in response to economic uncertainty.

“We are mindful of the weaker macro-economic conditions seen in much of continental Europe,” he said.

“Our flexible business model enables us to react quickly to changes in market conditions by adjusting our headcount to focus on productivity and conversion.”

UK revenue – worth 16 per cent of Page’s overall earnings – dropped 2.4 per cent year on year over the second quarter. The firm’s Michael Page brand fell six per cent, while China slipped one per cent.

Stagg blamed social unrest in Hong Kong that involved mass protests against the government and the US-China trade war for uncertainty in China, and Brexit-related fears for the UK’s woes.

Those were offset by a nine per cent rise in EMEA, where Germany revenue rocketed 24 per cent year on year. Asia Pacific also climbed 4.7 per cent while the US climbed 22 per cent year on year.

Read more: Macroeconomic uncertainty sends Page Group shares lower

Stagg said: “It is clear that macro-economic conditions in a number of our regions are becoming more challenging, and, as such, we currently expect 2019 operating profit to be towards the lower end of the range of current market forecasts.”

But he added: “We will continue to focus on driving profitable growth, while continuing our strategic investments towards our vision of 10,000 headcount, £1bn of gross profit and £200m – £250m of operating profit.”

Main image credit: Getty