PageGroup faced 'challenging' markets over the third quarter

Uncertainty over Brexit is continuing in the UK Picture: PA
Uncertainty over Brexit is continuing in the UK Picture: PA
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Recruitment company PageGroup today revealed that it had faced "challenging" markets over the third quarter.

PageGroup delivered third quarter gross profit of £216.7m, which was an increase of 2.1 per cent in constant currencies and 4.2 per cent in reported rates. In constant currencies, there was similar growth in both Michael Page and Page Personnel.

In a statement, the group said: "Given the heightened political and macro-economic challenges seen in the quarter, together with our limited forward visibility, we currently expect 2019 operating profit to be in the range of £140m to £150m."

Steve Ingham, chief executive, said: "The majority of the group's regions were impacted by increased macro-economic and political uncertainty in Q3. Consequently, group gross profit growth slowed to 2.1 per cent in constant currencies from 7.4 per cent in Q2.

"We saw standout performances in Germany, India, and Latin America, as well as a strong performance in the US, despite a slowing financial services market in New York. However, we saw increasingly challenging trading conditions in many of our larger markets, including Greater China, the UK and France.

"Looking ahead, the deterioration in trading conditions seen during Q3 across the majority of our regions is anticipated to continue. In the UK, heightened Brexit related uncertainty is expected to remain as we approach and go beyond 31 October. With worsening macro-economic indicators in Continental Europe, particularly in Germany, and in the US, there are signs that growth in these markets may slow. In Greater China, confidence in Mainland China continues to be affected by trade tariff uncertainty and the social unrest in Hong Kong is increasing. Given these heightened political and macro-economic challenges, together with our limited forward visibility, we currently expect 2019 operating profit to be in the range of £140m to £150m.

"However, we will continue to focus on driving profitable growth, while progressing our strategic investments towards our Vision of 10,000 headcount, £1bn of gross profit and £200m - £250m of operating profit."

PageGroup, which specialises in professional areas such as accounting and finance, has a base in Leeds.