Trading update for the fourth quarter ended 31 December 2015

Group net fee income increased by 10% year-on-year in constant currency.

  • Asia Pacific net fee income up 11% in constant currency.
    - Our emerging markets in Asia continued to perform strongly with Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam all producing excellent growth.
    - Our larger and well-established businesses in the Asia region also produced solid results with Japan, Hong Kong and mainland China delivering the strongest rates of net fee income growth.
    - Another quarter of net fee income growth in constant currency in Australia with Sydney performing particularly well.

  • UK net fee income up 5% year-on-year.
    - Permanent recruitment activity across the UK was noticeably slower in the fourth quarter, with financial services particularly subdued.
    - Resource Solutions won two major deals during the period.

  • Net fee income in Europe up 17% in constant currency.
    - The Netherlands, Belgium and Spain again produced excellent results whilst Switzerland also grew strongly albeit from a low base.
    - Building on the strong growth in Spain, we have opened a new office in Barcelona.
    - Improvement in permanent hiring activity in France.

  • Other International (US, Middle East, South Africa and Brazil) net fee income was broadly flat year-on-year.

  • Group headcount of 2,916 (30 Sep 2015: 2,820).

  • Strong balance sheet with net cash of £17.7m as at 31 December 2015 (30 Sep 2015: £14.0m).

Robert Walters, Chief Executive, commented:

"The Group produced a positive performance; delivering another quarter of double-digit net fee income growth in constant currency. Net fee income for the full year is up 12% in constant currency, with profit before taxation remaining in line with current market expectations.

Looking ahead, notwithstanding ongoing global market uncertainty, our strong blend of income streams, our truly global footprint, our powerful brand and experienced senior management team ensures the Group is well positioned for the future.”

The Group will publish its final results for the year ended 31 December 2015 on 10 March 2016.

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