- Recruitment company Page swung to a small first-half loss and scrapped its interim dividend after the economic fallout from the Covid-19 crisis crunched the jobs market.

Pre-tax losses for the six months through June amounted to £0.8m, compared to a profit of £74.6m on-year. Revenue slumped 20% to £655.0m.

Page said it had cut its cost base by 21% in the second quarter amid 'significant voluntary sacrifices from employees'.

The company's headcount had dropped by 713, or 9.3%, to 6,985 at the end of June after it chose to 'lose recent joiners or those on performance reviews'.

'We took decisive management actions on costs to protect near-term profitability, whilst at the same time investing in our platform to ensure we emerge from this period in a position of strength,' chief executive Steve Ingham said.

'We also focused on ensuring we retained a strong cash position, which we achieved, and we have access to sizeable borrowing facilities, if required.'

'However, trading conditions remain uncertain and, as such, we have taken the decision to suspend our dividend policy.'

'It is our intention to reinstate shareholder returns when conditions improve.'

Ingham said activity levels had started to pick up during the second quarter in several markets.

'As offices have been progressively reopened, we have seen improvements in our main forward looking KPIs, such as new opportunities, candidates sent to clients, interviews and offers.'

'Whilst trading conditions remain unpredictable, we are choosing to invest in the business, returning all our staff to full time working and full pay in the third quarter.'

'We are also investing in experienced hires from our competitors as well as continuing to invest in systems, such as our new operating system, Customer Connect.'

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