While Domestic Market Faces Downturn, International Markets Drive Growth For Hays plc (HAS)

London-based human recruitment specialist Hays plc (LON:HAS) shareholders have more reasons to feel good as company shares jumped more than 5% on strong full-year results, extending the year-to-date rally to nearly 39%. Operating profit jumped 17% to £211.5 million on account of 12% growth in net fee in Continental Europe & Rest of World and 9% in Asia Pacific, along with currency translation gains due to a weaker sterling. “Our International businesses delivered record levels of fees and profit which, together with exchange rate gains, drove overall Group operating profit to over £200m for the first time since 2008”, said CEO Alistair Cox.
LSE:HAS Hays Past and Future Earnings by Simply Wall St
LSE:HAS Hays Past and Future Earnings by Simply Wall St
UK & Ireland geographic division saw net fees drop 7%, primarily due to sharp decline of 74% in net fees from the Private Sector following the EU referendum last year. The company said the tough domestic markets have stabilised since November, while the Public Sector remains challenging. “As we enter our new year, conditions remain good in the vast majority of our markets and we see many clear opportunities to grow… Our diverse and balanced global business, together with our highly experienced management teams and our strong balance sheet means we are well positioned to capitalise on these growth opportunities while maximising earnings and cash along the way”, added Mr Cox. The silver lining was 14% net fee growth in Germany, making it the company’s largest business. France delivered 11% growth and Australia turned out be the strongest performer, with 18% growth, in Asia Pacific. More impressive was the company’s quality of earnings as all of its operating profits reflected in operating cash flow. Hays decided to pay first special dividend, citing “strong financial and cash performance and a confident outlook”. Including this bonus dividend and an 11% jump in core dividends, company shareholders are set to get a double dividend payout compared to the year-ago period. Find more solid dividend payers in High and Sustainable