RECRUITMENT firm Michael Page International has reported a slide in profits at its UK arm as business with the country’s beleaguered banking sector continued to suffer.
With Lloyds, HSBC, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland all having announced job cuts in the past two years, banking business at Michael Page in the UK was down 50% year-on-year in the six months to June 30.
The UK, which represents more than a fifth of the group’s total profits, saw revenues drop 10% to £146m, while gross profits fell 7% to £61.7m.
The wider group, which employs 1,200 in the UK, saw broadly flat profits of £273.9m in the period, propped up by a 17% increase in profits in the Asia-Pacific region.
Shares in Michael Page were 3% lower in early trading yesterday.
Marc Zwartsenburg, head of Western European equity products at ING Bank, said: “The second half of the year is not a seasonally stronger half in general while also job churn is likely to come down further in our view on low candidate confidence.
“We thus do not rule out that Michael Page International might head for a profit warning in the second half.”
Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), the group’s largest region, contributing 43% of group gross profit, saw revenues increase by 0.9% to £211.5m and gross profit slip by 1.9% to £117.9m.
Increasing austerity measures and levels of unemployment across Southern Europe hit market confidence, Michael Page said, while the weaker euro impacted the results of the eurozone countries.
During the first half of the year, Michael Page opened new offices in Casablanca, Morocco, and in Cape Town, South Africa.
The strong performance in the Asia-Pacific region was in part driven by the group’s Australian division and the strength of the mining and commodities sector.
The Americas saw gross profit fall by 7.2% to £37.4m, as North America was impacted by the difficulties in the financial services sector.