- Driver group reported a fall in first-half profits as lower-than-expected activity in the Middle East and Asia Pacific offset stronger performance in Europe and the Americas.

For the six months ended 31 March, pre-tax profit fell 42% to £1.05m and revenues slipped 6.2% to £29.7m.

The fall in profits was on a decrease in fee earner headcount, which decreased by 32 to 355, driven by reduced revenues in both Asia Pacific and Middle East.

Middle East reported underlying profit before tax for the period of £0.4m, down from £1.3m and Asia Pacific swung to an underlying loss before tax for the period of £0.6m from a profit of £0.6m year earlier.

Europe & Americas reported underlying profit before tax for the period of £2.0m, up from £1.4m a year earlier with utilisation rates at 70.3%, down from 73.6%.

The board resumed its interim dividend, proposing to pay 0.5p per share for 2019.

'Whilst activity levels during the fourth quarter will be critical to the outcome for the year as a whole, we currently expect to deliver underlying profit before taxation for the year broadly in line with the guidance set out in our March trading update,' the company said.

'Although the first half of 2019 has seen lower activity than expected in some markets we have reacted quickly to re-align the cost base of underperforming businesses in the first half and with enquiry rates at high levels the Group is well placed to record good progress for the remainder of the current financial year,' said Steve Norris, Chairman of Driver Group.

At 8:26am: [LON:DRV] Driver Group PLC share price was -8p at 52.5p

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