August 10, 2017 / 5:43 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Adecco Q2 profit rises 1 pct, hiring momentum continues

(Adds CEO comment, context, details)

ZURICH, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Adecco said positive hiring momentum had continued into the second half of 2017 as the world's largest staffing company reported second-quarter profit roughly in line with expectations.

The Swiss company said on Thursday net profit rose 1 percent to 192 million euros ($225.3 million) in the three months ended June 30, near the average analyst estimate of 194 million euros in a Reuters poll.

Sales rose to 5.97 billion euros from 5.7 billion euros a year earlier, just below expectations of 6.03 billion euros.

"Positive momentum continued in June 2017, with a growth rate of 6 percent, organically and trading days adjusted, and volume growth in July was similar to June," Adecco said in a statement.

Staffing companies are often seen as bellwethers for the broader economy, with companies taking on temporary staff at the beginning of a recovery before recruiting permanent staff.

Chief Executive Alain Dehaze highlighted France, Iberia, Italy and the Benelux countries as strong performers.

Revenues in France, Adecco's largest market, rose 9 percent, driven by construction and retail. The rate accelerated from the 8 percent growth rate in the first three months of the year.

Zurich-based Adecco had said it expected a boost from the election of Emmanuel Macron to the French presidency, with his proposals to overhaul to the country's economy and liberalise its labour market.

But revenues from North America and Britain and Ireland fell during the quarter as industrial and office staffing struggled.

Revenues from hiring of IT, finance and legal staff in Britain fell 6 percent, Adecco said, while sales from the permanent placement of professional staff fell 23 percent.

Rival Randstad Holding last month reported a 9.3 percent increase in organic growth during its second quarter, boosted by a strong performance in Europe, and said volumes had continued to grow at the same rate in July.

U.S. rival Manpower said the labour market in Europe was improving when it reported a 6 percent increase in second-quarter revenue last month.

$1 = 0.8521 euros Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Michael Shields

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