PageGroup (MPGPF) , the U.K. recruitment firm, posted full-year earnings Wednesday that indicate the country's labor market may be vulnerable to a post-Brexit slowdown even as recent industry data has shown a pickup in activity.
PageGroup reported 2016 revenue of £1.19 billion ($1.46 billion), a number that was on the nose of the Factset consensus, and also delivered a modest beat against expectations for its bottom line, with profit before tax coming in at £99.9 million and net income at £72.1 million.
However, it was PageGroup's international businesses that drove 2016 gains, with Italy and the Netherlands the standout performers in Europe. Its U.K. division, by contrast, saw revenues and its bottom line contract during the period.
Revenue was down 3.9% in the U.K, which accounts for nearly 25% of the group's gross profit, and profit before tax slipped 3.5% to £146.3 million, a result the firm attributed to Brexit-related uncertainty.
PageGroup shares were quoted 0.3% lower at 419 pence each in early London trading but have nonetheless gained more than 8.2% over the past three months, outpacing the 7% advance for the FTSE 250 benchmark.
"Our businesses in Continental Europe, Australasia and Latin America, excluding Brazil, all performed well. In the UK, client and candidate confidence levels were impacted by the EU Referendum result, with activity levels reduced," said CEO Steve Ingham.
However, national labor market data has shown the proportion of people who are unemployed in the U.K. trending lower throughout 2016, from 5.1% to 4.8%, while the overall participation rate rose to 74.5%.