- Recruitment group Hays said Thursday first half pre-tax profits increased 8% driven by net fees growth in its International markets.

For the six months ended 31 December, pre-tax profits rose 8% to £122.6m and net fees grew 8% to £568.0, and 9% on a like for like basis.

The uptick in profits was attributed to strong international growth as 20 of our 33 countries delivered record net fees.

'This included our largest countries by profit, Germany and Australia, as well as exciting growth markets such as China, Canada and the USA,' the company said.

In Germany, the company's largest market, net fees grew strongly by 14% to £153.7m, with operating profit also up by 14% to £46.7m.

The UK and Ireland delivered another 'solid result, with 6% profit growth despite economic uncertainties.'

Looking ahead, the company said its outlook in the vast majority of its markets remained positive.

'Our second half focus will be on driving consultant productivity, while selectively investing in our key markets to build on our existing scale, balance and diversity. Our financial strength and highly experienced management teams stand us in good stead for the future,' Alistair Cox, Chief Executive.

At 8:13am: [LON:HAS] Hays PLC share price was -12.65p at 145.75p

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