Shares in recruitment firm Page Group (PAGE) surged 7% higher on Wednesday to a new all-time high of 656.5p after reporting strong third quarter growth and increasing full-year profit guidance for the second time in three months.

Group gross profit increased 65.4% year-on-year for the three months through September to £228.1 million, which also eclipsed record 2019 levels by around 13%.

Growth accelerated towards the end of the quarter with September up 26% compared with 2019. The company said the ‘noticeable’ improvement in trading was achieved despite the backdrop of continued restrictions or lockdowns in many of its markets.

FURTHER UPGRADES TO COME

Consequently, management have increased guidance for full-year operating profit to be in the region of £155 million, up from prior guidance in July of between £125 million-to-£135 million.

This implies further upgrades from analysts with current consensus operating profit expectations sitting at £134 million according to Refinitiv data.

HIGHER PRODUCTIVITY

After being forced to reduce fee-earning headcount by 882 in 2020 due to the pandemic, the company has added a net 627 fee-earners in the first nine months of 2021.

The improved trading performance and lower headcount resulted in higher productivity with gross profit per fee earner up 21% compared with the third quarter of 2019.

Chief executive Steve Ingham said: ‘We are the clear leader in many of our markets, with a highly experienced senior management team, which we retained in 2020, and we believe, positions us well to take advantage of opportunities to grow and improve our business.

‘We have maintained our focus on driving progress towards our long-term strategic goals.’

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Issue Date: 06 Oct 2021