Full year profits for recruitment firm Hays ahead of market forecasts as they shrug off Brexit uncertainty

The recruiter has recorded quarterly performance as growth in international net fees offset a decline in the UK

Even with Brexit uncertainty looming, recruitment firm Hays expects its full year profit to be “marginally ahead” of market forecasts.

The company said that its operating profit will exceed analysts’ estimates of £209.5mln after delivering a record 7% like-for-like increase in total net fees in the final quarter to 30 June.

Net fee growth was driven by an 11% like-for-like rise in both the Asia Pacific region and the Continental Europe and rest of the world divisions.

Hays shrugged off a 5% decline in like-for-like net fees in the UK and Ireland where Brexit uncertainty knocked business confidence. London suffered the most from a stall in hiring with a 9% drop in net fees.

Total group temporary placements rose a like-for-like 6% while permanent placements increased 7%.

Chief executive Alistair Cox said that the board is considering increasing its shareholder returns in line with the company’s dividend policy after ending the year with a “strong” net cash position of approximately £110mln.

“The scale, balance and diversity of the business we have built is unrivalled in our industry and our focus remains to deliver sector-leading profits and strong cash generation,” he said.

“These strengths, combined with a strong balance sheet and our world-class, highly experienced teams around the world, stand us in good stead and mean we continue to look to the future with confidence.”

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