- Recruitment company Hays scrapped its interim dividend and warned on profit as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic had driven a 'very material deceleration' in client and candidate activity.

Trading between 1 January and 13 March was in line with its expectations, with like-for-like net fees down about 5% year-on-year, but since then performance has turned lower.

'We expect the impact will be substantial and group operating profit for the year to 30 June 2020 is, therefore, likely to be materially below the £190m consensus average shown on Bloomberg (as at 30 March 2020),' the company warned.

To date, the impact of virus outbreak had been felt most in Europe, and least in Australia, the company said.

Permanent recruitment had seen more of an impact than temporary, and the private sector had been more impacted than the public sector, the company said.

The company said it would be undertaking a range of measures to reduce its cos base, including freezing hiring and reducing headcount and scrapping its planned dividend.

The company cancelled the 1.11p per share interim dividend which was due to be paid on 9 April 2020.

Hays also said it intended to raise £200m through placing and subscription of shares.

'The proceeds raised 'will leave the company with a stronger balance sheet, working capital and liquidity position during this period of unprecedented disruption,' it added.

At 9:09am: [LON:HAS] Hays PLC share price was -7.4p at 102p

Story provided by