StockMarketWire.com - Recruitment company PageGroup warned of pressure on its annual performance from increased economic and political uncertainty, while posting a 4.2% rise in third-quarter gross profit.

Gross profit for the three months through September rose to £216.7m, up from £207.9m on-year. On a constant currency basis, it grew by a more modest 2.1%.

Growth in the Americas and Europe of 17% and 7.0%, respectively, was offset falls of 4.1% and 4.0% in the UK and Asia Pacific.

Chief executive Steve Ingham said the majority of the group's regions were impacted by increased macro-economic and political uncertainty over the period.

'We saw standout performances in Germany, India, and Latin America, as well as a strong performance in the US, despite a slowing financial services market in New York,' Ingham said.

'However, we saw increasingly challenging trading conditions in many of our larger markets, including Greater China, the UK and France.'

Ingham said the deterioration in trading conditions seen during the third quarter across the majority of the company's regions was anticipated to continue.

'In the UK, heightened Brexit related uncertainty is expected to remain as we approach and go beyond 31 October.'

'With worsening macro-economic indicators in continental Europe, particularly in Germany, and in the US, there are signs that growth in these markets may slow.'

'In Greater China, confidence in mainland China continues to be affected by trade tariff uncertainty and the social unrest in Hong Kong is increasing.'

'Given these heightened political and macro-economic challenges, together with our limited forward visibility, we currently expect 2019 operating profit to be in the range of £140m to £150m.'

'However, we will continue to focus on driving profitable growth, while progressing our strategic investments towards our Vision of 10,000 headcount, £1bn of gross profit and £200m - £250m of operating profit.'



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