- Recruitment firm Robert Walters said its first-quarter gross profit slumped 11% owing to the Covid-19 crisis.

Gross profit, otherwise known as net fee revenue, in the three months through March fell to £87.4m, down from £98.6m on-year.

Robert Walters said it had shrunk its cost base by 15% as of 1 April by reducing discretionary spend, cutting executive salaries by 20% and offering employees the opportunity to voluntarily reduce working hours.

Headcount during the quarter fell 2% to 3,935.

'Trading for the first quarter was negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic,' chief executive Robert Walters said.

'With Europe and the Americas recently following much of the Asia Pacific region into varying stages of lockdown, we are expecting the second quarter to be more challenging.'

'The picture across the globe is changing hour to hour and day to day, so it would be imprudent to attempt to give accurate forward guidance on expected full year trading at this stage.'

'The group has a strong balance sheet, strong cash position and an experienced management team who have navigated the business through various international crises over our 35-year history.'

At 2:15pm: [LON:RWA] Robert Walters PLC share price was +30p at 396p

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