Belfast Telegraph

Hays' pre-tax profits hit by restructuring

By Henry Saker-Clark

Recruitment firm Hays saw full-year profits dip as it was weighed down by the cost of restructuring its European operations and declines in business confidence.

The company, which has bases in Belfast, Portadown and Londonderry, reported a 3% fall in pre-tax profits to £231m for the 12 months to June 30, after it was dented by a £15m one-off charge due to cutting costs related to senior management.

Weakening market conditions in some of its key markets such as Germany, Australia and the UK0 pressed down on profitability towards the end of the year.

Hays said that net fees increased 2% in the UK, while profits rose on the back of strong cost control, but it reported "signs of reduced business confidence" in the fourth quarter.

The company's largest market, Germany, was weighed down by slowdowns in the country's manufacturing and automotive sectors, resulting in "increasing signs of cost control and slower decision-making".

Hays' restructuring in Europe cost the company £6.8m, it said, while it is expected to deliver around £5m in savings each year.

Profitability was also dented by more than £8m in off-off costs following a legal ruling last year which required companies to equalise pension provision for men and women.

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Hays chief executive Alistair Cox said: "Our UK business delivered a solid result, despite ongoing uncertainties."

Company shares slipped 3% to 134.9p in yesterday's early trading.

Belfast Telegraph

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