Hays Plc Closes In On Two-And-A-Half-Year High

Shares in Hays (LSE: HAS) climbed over 4.5% in early trade to 100.50p, leaving it perilously close to a two-and-a-half-year high.

The movement comes after the recruitment firm saw quarterly like-for-like growth in net fees across the UK and Ireland improve 7%, while Continental Europe & Rest of World rose 9% in Q4 FY13.

The group did see a decline of 3% in like-for-like net fees from placing applicants in permanent roles, but this was more than offset by ‘temporary’ net fees advancing 5% on a like-for-like basis.

Chief executive Alistair Cox commented:

 “Our focus has remained on reacting quickly to the world as it changes, selectively investing in markets where we see opportunities while keeping firm control over costs around the Group.

“Looking ahead, we expect continued fragile and mixed conditions. Several markets are likely to remain challenging and these will sit alongside clear opportunities for growth. The diverse business we have built positions us well and we remain focused on delivering long-term, sustainable growth while driving profits along the way.”

Hays failed to top 100p throughout the whole of 2012, never recovering from its fall from a high of 134p at the beginning of 2011. However, over the past 12 months it has gained 40% in value. Whether you think the recruitment firm has further to go, of course, is up to you.

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> Sam does not own shares in Hays.