Profits from UK banking recruitment plunged 50% year-on-year between January and March, dragging the firm’s overall UK profits down 3.7% to £30.6m reports HITC.
Chief executive Steve Ingham said: “Clearly there are still issues around the euro zone sovereign debt and these things are influencing our business, but … I don’t think things are getting worse. Our conclusion on March was that banking remains difficult [and] certain geographies remain more challenging than others.”
He pointed to Italy, Spain and Britain. European stock markets were rocked by a wave of panic selling on Tuesday amid fresh fears over Spain and Italy, which saw borrowing costs jump.
Michael Page, described the UK market as “very challenging and highly competitive” but said this was offset by stronger performances in other countries, including Germany and France, which grew by 36% and 10% respectively. Group profits climbed 6.9% to £136m in the first quarter.
Investec Securities analyst Robert Morton switched his recommendation on the stock to ‘hold’ from ‘buy,’ saying: “The recruitment sector will clearly face some choppy waters in the very short term, but we still believe that the underlying structural recovery/growth story for the sector remains intact.”