- Hays reported a sharp fall in first-half profit, but the recruitment company vowed to resume its dividend payments later this year in August, citing a stronger recovery in the second quarter.

For the six months ended 31 December, pre-tax profit fell 78% to £21.1 million year-on-year as net fees slipped 24% to £422.8 million.

Net fees in Germany, the company's biggest market, fell 26%, with operating profit down 76% as the pandemic hurt performance.

'Finally, with recovery in fees and our profits accelerating in Q2, this provides us with confidence to resume paying core dividends at our full-year results in August, the company said.

'We have also identified £150 million of surplus capital, which we also intend to return to shareholders in phases via special dividends, again commencing at our results in August,' it added.

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