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APAC NFI up 8% in H1 2018 for Robert Walters

Robert Walters plc has released its half-yearly financial results for the six months ended 30th June 2018.


The group reported a record first half performance with operating profit increasing by 28% (30% constant currency) to £20.7m (2017: £16.2m) and profit before tax increasing by 32% (35% constant currency) to £20.6m (2017: £15.6m). Revenues increased by 11% (13% constant currency) to £625.9m.


Basic earnings per share increased 30% to 21.2p and the company’s interim dividend per share increased 45% to 4.0p


72% of the Group’s net fee income derived from its international businesses (2017: 71%). All regions delivered increases in both net fee income and operating profit. There was strong activity levels across permanent, contract, interim and recruitment process outsourcing.


UK net fee income was up 9% to £52.6m (2017: £48.3m) producing an uplift in operating profit to £4.2m (2017: £4.0m). There was good growth across several locations and disciplines. Activity levels were strongest across the technology, legal and commerce finance disciplines. Financial Services more subdued against tough year-on-year comparatives. The group established a new office opened in Leeds to further grow regional UK footprint. Resource Solutions continued to grow net fee income and successfully expanded its service offering across a number of key client accounts.


Asia Pacific net fee income was up 8% (15% in constant currency) to £73.1m (£77.3m constant currency) (2017: £67.4m) and operating profit was up 19% (28% constant currency) to £9.2m (£9.9m constant currency) (2017: £7.7m). There was a strong performance across both emerging and well-established markets. Japan, the Group’s largest business in the region, grew operating profit in excess of 25% constant currency, whilst Indonesia and Vietnam more than doubled profits. There was a good first half in Australia with Victoria, Queensland and South Australia delivering the highest rates of growth. Resource Solutions continued to grow its client portfolio across the region.


Europe net fee income was up 29% (26% constant currency) to £48.9m (£48.0m constant currency) (2017: £38.0m) and operating profit up 62% (57% constant currency) to £7.1m (£6.9m constant currency) (2017: £4.4m). The group reported an excellent first half performance across the whole region and permanent, contract and interim recruitment. There were record results delivered by seven out of eight of the region’s markets with France, Germany, Spain and Switzerland producing the highest rates of growth. A new office was opened in Hamburg, the company’s third in Germany, to further capitalise on opportunities for growth in this high potential market.


Other International (North America, Brazil, the Middle East and South Africa) net fee income was up 29% (40% constant currency) to £14.0m (£15.3m constant currency) (2017: £10.9m) producing an operating profit of £0.2m (£0.1m constant currency) (2017: £0.1m). There was a strong first half performance particularly across North America and the Middle East.


The company has reported a strong balance sheet with net cash of £24.8m as at 30th June 2018 (30 June 2017: £18.4m).


Robert Walters (pictured), chief executive, said, “The Group delivered record first half profits, in line with recently increased market expectations, growing profit before tax by 32% (35%*) year-on-year. Growth was strong and broad-based across all regions and our permanent, contract, interim and recruitment process outsourcing revenue streams. 


“We enter the second half of 2018 with confidence and we have increased the interim dividend by 45%. The Group’s platform for growth continues to be strong, across both emerging and well-established markets and disciplines, and we are well positioned to further capitalise on market opportunities as they arise.”


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