- Staffing group Empresaria hiked its dividend on Wednesday as profits rose by nearly a fifth despite weaker net fee income growth in Continental Europe.

For the year ended 31 December 2018, pre-tax profits rose 18% to £9.4m and revenue increased 5% to £366.8m.

Net fee income grew by 4% to £72.3m for the year amid mix results across the group, with three out of four regions – UK, Asia Pacific and Americas - delivering growth, but Continental Europe net fee income growth slipped by 1.1%.

The company proposed a dividend of 2.0p, up 52% on the prior year.

'In line with our strategy we continue to invest in the Group, with a new brand in Peru joining in July 2018, as we strengthen our presence in the high potential Latin American market,' the company said.

'We have also invested in our central team, to provide more support to the growth plans of our brands, with a new Chief Operating Officer, Rhona Driggs, and Group Finance Director, Tim Anderson, joining the board, as well as new staff with responsibilities for technology, training and marketing.'

'Our focus in 2019 is to deliver organic growth and strengthen our core brands. With the quality of the brands in our Group and a more focused strategy, we see good opportunities to generate profitable growth, but we remain mindful of the increasing economic uncertainty arising from political risks.' At 9:05am: [LON:EMR] Empresaria Group PLC share price was +3.5p at 71.5p

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