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Robert Walters reports softening across a number of markets, but Q3 gross profit up 2%

October 08, 2019

Robert Walters plc, a global staffing provider based in the UK, reported third-quarter net fee income, or gross profit, rose 2% in constant currency amid global uncertainty in several of its markets; the uncertainty included Brexit, US-China trade tensions and Hong Kong protests. In the third quarter of 2018, gross profit had risen 13% year over year in constant currency.

“The group delivered net fee income growth of 2% (4% actual) during the third quarter as trading conditions softened across a number of markets,” Chief Executive Robert Walters said in today’s third-quarter announcement. “The ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the US-China trade tariff standoff and Hong Kong protests, coupled with the significant impact of the gilets-jaunes protests experienced earlier this year have combined to create a unique set of cumulative headwinds.”

The UK-based global staffing provider reported gross profit rose across its geographies except for the UK.

Gross profit

(£ millions) Q3 2019 Q3 2018 % change % constant currency change  Q3 2019 (US$ millions)
Asia Pacific £44.8 £41.2 9% 3% $55.0
Europe £26.9 £24.3 10% 9% $33.0
UK £24.8 £27.9 -11% -11% $30.5
Other international £9.2 £7.8 18% 12% $11.3
Total £105.6 £101.2 4% 2% $129.7

US and Canadian operations are included in the company’s “other international” segment. Robert Walters said gross profit growth was strong in San Francisco, Canada and the Middle East.

Europe gross profit rose, and the company reported gross profit in France rose more than 10%. Meanwhile, Robert Walters noted the strongest gross profit growth in its Asia Pacific operations were in Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam and New Zealand.

In the UK, client and candidate confidence continued to be generally weak, although some sectors such as IT remained resilient.

Share price and market cap

Shares in Robert Walters closed down 5.51% to £463.00; the company had a market cap of £372.25 million, according to FT.com.

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