Thursday 9 July 2020 3:04 pm

Profit at Robert Walters drops 33 per cent in second quarter

Global recruitment firm Robert Walters suffered a 33 per cent drop in gross profit in the second quarter of the year as coronavirus lockdowns ravaged the jobs market.

The London-listed group’s gross profit tumbled 33 per cent year-on-year to £71.1m as coronavirus took hold around the world. The UK was the hardest hit market, with a 34 per cent plunge in gross profit.

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In a trading update covering the three months until the end of June, Robert Walters said it also took a roughly 30 per cent hit in its Asia Pacific and European markets.

Robert Walters is a recruitment company based in London that specialises in finding professionals new jobs. It has large businesses in Asia, Europe and the UK.

Recruitment firms have suffered under the weight of the coronavirus pandemic. Jobs markets all but dried up as government put their countries into strict lockdowns.

It said that in the UK, activity levels in the regions, whilst significantly down year-on-year, held up better than in London.

The company’s shares rose three per cent today morning to 408p, however. It came after Robert Walters said it had a strong balance sheet with net cash of £119.3m, up from £54.4m a year earlier.

Robert Walters, chief executive of the group, said: “As I indicated in our first quarter update, we expected the second quarter to be more challenging as periods of prolonged lockdown were instigated across the globe. 

Walters said it is hard to predict what will happen over the rest of the year. “That said, current trading is in line with market consensus for the full year.”

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He added: “The Group has a strong balance sheet and cash position and is led by an experienced management team that has steered the business successfully through a number of previous international crises.

“I remain confident that we will emerge from this period of uncertainty with increased market share.”