Hays plc Rises On Good First Quarter

haysHays (LSE: HAS) — the recruitment and human resources services company — this morning issued an interim management statement for the first quarter, to 30 September 2014, in which it said it had made a “good start” to its 2015 financial year. Its share price is currently up 5.4% in trading so far today.

The company reported good year-on-year group net fee performance, with total actual fees up 4% (9% on a like-for-like basis), driven by a 7% rise in fees from the permanent segment (12% like-for-like), with actual fees from the temporary segment up 2% (7% like-for-like). The group’s temporary business contributed 58% of net fees in the quarter.

Looking geographically, the strongest performance was a 13% rise in fees (both actual and like-for-like) in the UK, led by 20% growth in the region’s permanent business. Actual fees in Asia Pacific declined 1%  ( but were up 6% like-for-like), with those from the Continental Europe & Rest of World region flat (up 8% like-for-like). 

Hays said that 13 countries in its Continental Europe & Rest of World region delivered like-for-like growth of 10% or more. The company also reported that  each of its three largest businesses — Australia, Germany and the UK — grew simultaneously for the first time in nearly four years, with a 2% rise in like-for-like net fees seeing Australia return to growth for the first time in two years. 

Commenting on the statement, CEO Alistair Cox said:

While we are mindful of the risks our world faces today, most of our markets continue to improve and we are focused on capitalising on the opportunities this presents us. This means continuing to invest to make our business more productive, while simultaneously increasing consultant capacity where market demand dictates. Having built the largest global platform in our industry, we are ideally positioned now to take advantage of these improved market conditions.

At 124.6p, Hays’ share price is up 7.8% on this time last year, versus a 3% rise in the FTSE 100 index in that time. But Hays is trailing the index over five years, with a share price gain of just 16%, compared with the FTSE 100’s 26.5% increase.

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Jon Wallis has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.