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SThree profits jump as international growth offsets Brexit-hit UK jobs market

SThree left its expectations for the full year unchanged

Continental Europe was the key driver growth for SThree in the first half

Recruitment firm SThree PLC (LON:STHR) delivered an 18% jump in first-half profit as growth in international jobs markets mitigated a weak performance in Brexit-hit Britain.

The group, which specialises in recruitment for the science, technology, engineering and mathematics sectors, said adjusted profit before tax rose to £24mln in the six months to the end of May from £20.3mln a year ago. Revenue advanced 12% to £653.3mln.

Net fees, a key measure of gross profit for recruiters, increased 10% to £163mln.

READ: Recruiter SThree reports gross profit growth even as Brexit hits UK business

The UK and Ireland division saw net fees fall 9% as the uncertainty surrounding Brexit continued to weigh on business confidence.

The region, however, only makes up 14% of total net fees and the weak performance was more than offset by growth in the rest of its global markets.

Continental Europe, the company’s biggest region, delivered a 13% increase in net fees, accounting for 58% of the total. The performance was driven by the German, Austria and Switzerland (DACH) region and and the Netherlands.

The US, which represents 22% of group net fees, grew 13% despite a decrease in permanent job placements as contract roles surged.

The Asia Pacific and Middle East division also achieved a 13% rise in net fees, representing 6% of the total, led by growth in Dubai contract placements and Japan permanent hires.

SThree raised its interim dividend to 5.1p from 4.7p last year.

"Notwithstanding the macro-economic backdrop in certain regions, the group remains well positioned as we enter the second half, and the Board's expectations for the full year remain unchanged,” said chief executive Mark Dorman.

Shares rose 2.7% to 278p in morning trading.

Quick facts: SThree PLC

Price: 334 GBX

Market: LSE
Market Cap: £445.45 m

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