Robert Walters plc, a global staffing provider based in the UK with operations in the US, in a trading update reported net fee income, or gross profit, fell 36% in constant currency in the second quarter. This was due to the periods of prolonged lockdown instigated across the globe. The level of decline was fairly uniform across all its regions.
Net fee income for the first half of the year was down 23%.
US and Canadian operations are included in the company’s “other international” segment, where net fee income fell 35%; the Middle East was the most resilient, but in the Americas — particularly Latin America —market conditions remain challenging as infection rates rise, the company reported.
“Given the fluid and volatile nature of the global pandemic including the inherent risk of infection spikes and localized lockdowns, our forward visibility remains limited,” said Chief Executive Robert Walters. “That said, current trading is in line with market consensus for the full year.”
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The majority of Robert Walters’ offices are now open, albeit with reduced capacities in a number of locations to ensure adherence to local government guidelines and social distancing principles. Exceptions are the Americas and Melbourne in response to spikes in local infection rates.
In Europe, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands produced robust performances, according to the company, with recruitment activity levels holding up “relatively well.” Activity levels across France, Germany and Spain were more muted.
In the UK, market conditions were challenging. Activity levels in the UK regions, while significantly down year over year, held up better than in London.
In the Asia Pacific region, the group’s businesses in Japan, South Korea, Mainland China, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand proved to be most resilient while activity levels across South East Asia was more significantly impacted.
Share price and market cap
Shares in Robert Walters closed up 2.02% to £404.00; the company had a market cap of £301.23 million, according to FT.com.