UPDATE 1-Recruiter SThree income scales above pre-pandemic levels, appoints new CFO

(Adds details on operating regions, dividend, and background)

June 14 (Reuters) - British firm SThree Plc on Monday posted a rise in half-year net fees, as a ramp-up in vaccinations and re-opening of some economies encouraged many companies to accelerate their recruiting in key markets.

The recruiter saw strength across its operating regions and benefited heavily from its life sciences and technology sectors in the U.S., German and Dutch businesses.

Recruitment firms were severely hurt by the economic damage stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic last year, forcing SThree to cease all hiring activities and slash its dividend and management pay to cushion the blow. Businesses reopened for a while since then, though fresh restrictions in some countries pose new challenges.

SThree, which hires employees for finance, energy, banking, pharmaceutical, engineering, and tech sector, said on Monday that it intends to recommend an interim dividend for the current financial year.

The recruiter also announced that it had appointed Andrew Beach as its new chief financial officer, replacing Alex Smith who will be stepping down after spending more than 13 years with the company.

SThree’s overall group net fees for the six months ended May 31 came in at 164.3 million pounds ($231.76 million), 10% higher than a year earlier and 3% above pre-pandemic levels.

Earlier this month, the company had also raised its annual profit forecast, and was later joined by its peer Robert Walters in a similar upward revision.

$1 = 0.7089 pounds Reporting by Indranil Sarkar in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips