- Recruitment company Hays warned on profit as a stronger pound and economic uncertainty kept a lid on growth across several of its key markets in the second quarter.

The company said reported profit for 2019 would be about £245m, about £3m lower than its position at its first quarter trading update in October and represented a £9m reduction versus the number stated at its preliminary results in August.

In the second quarter, ended 31 December 2019, net fees decreased by 7% on a headline basis and by 4% on a like-for-like basis against the prior year.

'Growth slowed markedly in December, driven by specific events in key markets: general strikes in France, tragic Australian bushfires and the UK election,' the company said.

In Germany and the UK, which combined account for nearly half of total net fees, net fees fell by 9% and 4% respectively.

The strengthening of sterling, primarily versus the euro and Australian dollar, reduced reported net fee growth.

Looking forward, the company added that exchange rate movements would remain a material sensitivity to its reported profitability.

At 8:08am: [LON:HAS] Hays PLC share price was -11.45p at 161.15p

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