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World – Robert Walters first-quarter net fee income rises despite political uncertainty in UK and Europe

15 April 2019

International recruitment firm Robert Walters (RWA: LSE) provided a trading update for the first quarter ending 31 March 2019.

Group net fee income increased by 10% in constant currency to £98.6 million, compared to £88.5 million during the same period last year.

Robert Walters, Chief Executive, commented, “All the group’s regions delivered growth in net fee income despite economic and political uncertainty in a number of markets, particularly the UK and France.

“Current trading is in line with market expectations for the full year,” Walters said.

Group Net Fee Income was as follows during the first quarter.

(£ millions) Q1 2019 Q1 2018 Change Constant Currency
Asia Pacific 36.4 32.6 12% 9%
UK 27.7 25.2 10% 10%
Europe 26.2 24.2 8% 10%
Other International 8.3 6.5 28% 22%
Total 98.6 88.5 11% 10%

During the first quarter, Japan, Mainland China, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam delivered the strongest rates of growth, all increasing net fee income in excess of 15%. The group added that demand for bilingual professionals across Asia remained strong.

In the UK, net fee income was up 10% in constant currency. Robert Walters reported a ‘good’ performance across both London and the regions given ongoing Brexit-related uncertainty.

In Europe, Germany and Spain delivered net fee income growth in excess of 25%. Performance in France, the group’s largest market in the region, was affected by the turbulent political backdrop including recent anti-government protests but still remained positive with single digit net fee income growth.

The ‘Other International’ region (the Americas, Middle East and South Africa) reported a net fee income increase of 22% in constant currency with the Middle East and Canada delivering the strongest net fee income growth.

Robert Walters will publish a trading update for the quarter ending 30 June 2019 on 9 July 2019.

Last week rival PageGroup reported group gross profit for first quarter of £208.8 million, up 11.7% in constant currency when compared to the previous year, with growth in all markets.

As of last trade, Robert Walters traded at £604.80, up 1.48% on the day and 27.33% above the 52 week low of £475.00 set on 11 December 2018. Based on its current share price the company has a market value of £452.21 million.

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