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Robert Walters profits stall as recruitment market freezes in face of widespread uncertainty

UK revenues shrank 11% in the period, which the company blamed on nervousness both from employers and prospective employees

Robert Walters - Robert Walters profits stall as recruitment market freezes in face of widespread uncertainty

Robert Walters PLC (LON:RWA) no longer expects profits to grow this year after its hiring in the UK stagnated in the third quarter due to “weak” client and candidate confidence.

Net revenue growth slowed to £105.6mln in the three months to March, up 4% on the previous year but well down on the 9% seen in the first half.

READ: Robert Walters growth slows as UK recruitment turns negative and Brexit uncertainty lingers

“Ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the US-China trade tariff standoff and Hong Kong protests, coupled with the significant impact of the gilets-jaunes protests” all contributed to softening trading conditions in the last three months.

Chief executive Robert Walters said that “as a result of these macro uncertainties, the Group now anticipates delivering annual profits in line with the prior year”. 

In 2018, the recruiter posted profits of £49.1mln.

UK activity was the worst hit in the last quarter with revenue shrinking 11% in the period, which the company blamed on nervousness both from employers and prospective employees. 

Robert Walters fared better in international trading which now accounts for 76% of the company’s net fee income, and Continental European income was up 9%. 

Competitor PageGroup also warned today of a worsening trading outlook, slashing its full-year expectations by 10%.

Shares in Robert Walters dropped 8% to 451.5p in early trading on Tuesday morning.
 

Quick facts: Robert Walters

Price: 514 GBX

LSE:RWA
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £390.49 m
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