(Adds CEO quote, details)
Sept 14 (Reuters) - British recruiting firm SThree Plc said on Monday its underlying sequential performance has been improving since the first half of the year, even as it reported lower group net fees for the third quarter.
The recruitment industry has been struggling under the pressure of a hiring freeze following the lockdowns imposed by many governments worldwide to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The company, which hires employees for finance, energy, banking, pharmaceutical, engineering and tech sectors, said in a statement there has been a significant uptick in general sales activity levels across most regions, driven by increased sales activity, and higher contractor retention rates.
“Encouragingly, feedback from our clients is becoming more positive,.... Nevertheless, the outlook in the short term is still uncertain as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our markets, clients and teams,” Chief Executive Officer Mark Dorman said.
The company posted a 14% decline in group net fees to 75.7 million pounds ($97.02 million) for the three months ended Aug. 31 and said its annual forecast remains suspended.
Following a market assessment on growth opportunities, the company said it intended to cease trading and operations in Australia by the end of November, but would maintain other Asia- Pacific (APAC) operations.
Quarterly net fees from APAC were down 33%, as the region continued to be impacted strongly from the pandemic, SThree added. ($1 = 0.7802 pounds) (Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar and Shanima A in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.