Recruiter sees "challenging" six months ahead, as first-half profits drop.
Michael Page (LSE: MPI), the specialist professional recruitment firm, saw its first-half adjusted pre-tax profits drop by 21% to £36.1m -- down from £45.5m in 2011 -- as difficult market conditions were blamed.
Steve Ingham, chief executive, pointed at the "seasonally quieter summer period in both continental Europe and the UK" alongside the "ongoing backdrop of economic uncertainty" as main factors for the slump.
In its half-year results, the company reported broadly flat gross profit of £273.9m, down only -0.5% from 2011's H1 gross profits of £275.1m. Michael Page also announced that the business remains profitable in all key markets, and believes itself to be in a strong position to prosper when the economy recovers.
Ingham continued: "The Group is financially strong, with net cash of £32.4m. We remain well placed to take advantage of any recovery in the markets in which we operate. At this time, we expect our full year operating profit from trading activities to be broadly in line with current market estimates."
Although basic earnings per share is down 39% from the same point last year, the interim dividend has been held at 3.25p and, as a result of the news as a whole, shares dipped only marginally on the news this morning, opening at 375.90p from last night's close of 379p, rebounding to 378.40p at the time of writing.
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> Sam does not own shares in Michael Page.