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Robert Walters shares jump on fourth quarter profit growth despite Brexit uncertainty

"Trading is comfortably in line with market expectations," said Robert Walters
The specialist recruiter had a higher headcount for the period

Recruiter Robert Walters PLC (LON:RWA) achieved growth in profits across all its markets in the fourth quarter, including the UK, despite Brexit uncertainty.

The company, which specialises in recruitment for financial services, IT, legal and engineering sectors, said net fee income – a measure of gross profit – rose 22% year-on-year at constant currency to £90.5mln in the three months to December 31.

Shares jumped 6.82% to 658p in morning trading.

Across the board growth

“Growth was once again broad based across permanent, contract, interim and recruitment process outsourcing across the group's geographic regions,” said chief executive Robert Walters.

"Net fee income for the full year is up 20%. With profit forecasts for the full year having been upgraded in response to our December trading update, the board confirms that trading is comfortably in line with market expectations."

READ: Robert Walters zips higher as it upgrades forecasts for third time in 2017

UK net fee income climbed 13% to £26.2mln in the fourth quarter, driven by a strong performance in Milton Keynes, St. Albans and Manchester. Growth in London was boosted by demand for workers in financial services, commerce finance, legal and technology.

In Europe, net fee income increased 28% at constant currency to £22.6mln with Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium all delivering growth of more than 25% year-on-year.

Asia Pacific saw net fee income edge up 12% at constant exchange rates to £33.6mln while other international surged 108% to £8.1mln.

Group headcount rose to 3,794 at the end of the fourth quarter from 3,697 at 30 September. 

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