- Hays reported net fees for the first six months of financial year increased by 12% to £525.8m with first half operating profit of £116.5m, up 14% from £100.1m.

Cash generated by operations fell by 12% to £74.1m and profit before tax was up 18% at £113.9m.

Earnings per share grew from 18% to 5.39p and the firm raised its dividend by 10% to 1.06p per share.

Alistair Cox, Chief Executive, said: 'We have delivered another strong first half with double-digit net fee and profit growth.' Conditions were supportive in the vast majority of our markets, with 22 countries growing net fees by more than 10% and 20 countries delivering record performances. This is a clear sign of the strength of our diversified global portfolio, as we take advantage of our leading positions in key markets.'

'Our largest business, Germany, delivered another all-time record performance and we accelerated investment there, increasing consultant headcount by 30% and opening three new offices. Australia delivered strong broad-based growth and while the UK market remained subdued, it was stable overall.'

'Looking ahead, the scale, balance and diversity of our businesses, combined with our strong balance sheet and highly experienced management teams, stand us in good stead. The outlook in the vast majority of our markets remains positive and we have made an encouraging start to our new five-year plan to broadly double our operating profits by 2022.'

At 8:53am: [LON:HAS] Hays PLC share price was -7.95p at 196.65p

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