HAYS PLC: Trading Statement

HAYS PLC 
TRADING UPDATE
QUARTER ENDED  
31 DECEMBER 2012 
10 January 2013 
Financial summary 
Growth in net fees for the quarter ended 31 December 2012 (Q2 FY13)
(versus the same period last year)                             Growth        
                                                      Actual    LFL(1)
By region                                                               


      Asia Pacific                                         (14)%     (14)%
      Continental Europe & Rest of World                      6%       12%
      United Kingdom & Ireland                              (3)%      (3)%
      Total                                                 (3)%      (1)%


                                                                   
By segment                                                              


      Temporary                                             (1)%        1%
      Permanent                                             (7)%      (5)%
      Total                                                 (3)%      (1)%


                                                                   
(1) LFL (like-for-like) growth represents organic growth at constant currency.  
Highlights 
· Group net fees decreased 1%(1) versus prior year 
· Strong growth of 12%(1) in Continental Europe & Rest of World, driven by
  continued strong performance in Germany which grew 14%(1) 
· Asia Pacific net fees decreased 14%(1). Australia & New Zealand decreased 
  15%(1) with a step-down in activity in the Resources & Mining business. 
  Asia decreased 6%(1) 
· Net fees decreased 3% in the UK & Ireland and were sequentially stable 
through
  the quarter. Private sector decreased 9%, public sector grew 15% 
· Increasingly selective investment approach and focussed cost control through  
the quarter 
· Consultant headcount was down 1% in the quarter and ended December down 3% 
  year-on-year  
· Net debt ended the quarter at c.£145 million, in line with expectations 
Commenting on the Group's performance in the second quarter, Alistair Cox,
Chief Executive, said: 
"Whilst several markets around the world were fragile, the fact that we've
built such a well-diversified and balanced business enabled us to deliver a
solid result in the quarter.  12 countries around the Group delivered net fee
growth of 10%(1) or more including Germany, which is operating at record
levels, and key markets such as Brazil, Canada and Russia. Other markets
remained tough, notably the UK, Southern Europe and Banking-related
specialisms, and we saw a step-down in activity levels in our Australian
Resources & Mining business. 
The start to the New Year is always a key time and we are closely monitoring
activity levels in all of our markets. Overall, we expect conditions to remain
fragile but we continue to see opportunities for growth in several key parts of
our business. We will invest accordingly to fully capitalise on these growth
opportunities, while also controlling costs tightly and improving productivity
across the Group in order to maximise profitability." 
Group 
In the second quarter ended 31 December 2012 net fees decreased by 1% on a
like-for-like basis(1) against prior year (net fees decreased by 3% on a
headline basis). Net fees in the temporary placement business, which accounted
for 59% of Group net fees, increased by 1% year-on-year(1) and the underlying
temporary placement margin(2)  was stable.  Net fees in the permanent placement
business decreased by 5%(1). 
The exit rate of Group net fees for the quarter was approximately (3)%(1). 
Consultant headcount was down 1% during the quarter and ended December down 3%
year-on-year. We became increasingly selective as the quarter progressed
regarding areas of investment around the Group and continued to focus on tight
cost control to maximise Group financial performance. 
Exchange rate movements reduced net fees by 2% in the quarter, primarily due to
depreciation in the rate of exchange of the Euro. Fluctuations in exchange
rates remain a significant sensitivity for the Group. 
Asia Pacific 
In Asia Pacific, which represents 29% of Group net fees, net fees decreased by
14%(1). 
In Australia & New Zealand net fees decreased by 15%(1) within which our
temporary placement business decreased by 10%(1) and our permanent placement
business decreased by 23%(1). Overall market conditions in Australia became
more challenging as the quarter progressed, especially in the permanent
markets. In New South Wales and Victoria, which together account for 44% of our
Australian business, conditions remained challenging but broadly sequentially
stable. In our Resources & Mining business, we have seen a step-down in
activity in Western Australia, and conditions in Queensland continued to be
challenging. New Zealand continued to perform well, delivering net fee growth
of 16%(1). 
In Asia, which accounted for 15% of the division, net fees decreased by 6%(1).
In Japan net fees decreased by 10%(1) and elsewhere in the division market
conditions remained challenging but stable. 
As the quarter progressed, we took action to reduce consultant headcount in the
division, which was down 6% in the quarter and ended December down 9%
year-on-year. 
Continental Europe & Rest of World ('RoW') 
In Continental Europe & RoW, our largest division which represents 40% of Group
net fees, we delivered further strong net fee growth of 12%(1). The performance
of our German business, which now represents 21% of Group net fees, was again
strong. Net fees increased by 14%(1) to record levels, and growth continued to
be broad based across all sectors and each of our contracting, temporary and
permanent placement businesses. 
We delivered net fee growth of 9%(1) in the rest of the division, which is
primarily a permanent placement business, and where market conditions remained
mixed and fragile overall. 10 countries delivered net fee growth of 10%(1) or
more, including the key markets of Brazil, Canada and Russia. Activity
elsewhere continues to be significantly impacted by adverse macro-economic
conditions with 7 countries recording net fee declines in the quarter, and
conditions in Southern Europe were particularly difficult. 
Consultant headcount in the division grew by 2% in the quarter and ended
December up 13% year-on-year. 
United Kingdom & Ireland 
In the United Kingdom & Ireland, net fees were sequentially stable through the
quarter and decreased by 3% year-on-year. Within this, our temporary placement
business was flat and our permanent placement business decreased by 9%. In our
private sector business, net fees decreased by 9% as market conditions remained
challenging overall, especially in our Banking and City-related and
Construction & Property specialisms. Elsewhere, our Life Sciences and HR
businesses were amongst those which delivered good growth. Our public sector
business delivered net fee growth of 15% driven primarily by job churn in the
permanent segment, and activity was notably strong in our Education and
Healthcare businesses. 
The range of cost reduction measures we implemented in the previous financial
year combined with further actions through the first half of the current
financial year have improved the financial performance of the division. 
Consultant headcount in the division was down 3% in the quarter and ended
December down 14% year-on-year. 
Cash flow and balance sheet 
Net debt ended December in line with expectations at around £145 million (30
September 2012: c.£140 million) following the payment in November of the
Group's final dividend. We expect Group net debt to reduce in the second half
of the financial year. 
(1) LFL (like-for-like) growth represents organic growth at constant currency. 
(2) The underlying temporary placement gross margin is calculated as 
temporary placement net fees divided by temporary placement gross revenue 
and 


    relates solely to temporary placements in which Hays generates net fees and
    specifically excludes transactions in which Hays acts as agent on behalf of


workers supplied by third party agencies. 
Enquiries 
Hays plc                                                                         

Paul Venables             Group Finance Director             + 44 (0) 20 7383 
2266   
David Walker              Head of Investor Relations         + 44 (0) 20 7383 
2266    
                                                      
Maitland                                                                         

Liz Morley                                                   + 44 (0) 20 7379 
5151    
                                                                             
Conference call 
Paul Venables and David Walker of Hays plc will conduct a conference call for
analysts and investors at 9:00am United Kingdom time on 10 January 2013. The
dial-in details are as follows: 
Dial-in number                                             +44 (0) 20 3139 4830  
Password                                                   38855690#             
                                                                             
The call will be recorded and available for playback for seven days as follows:  
                                                                             
Replay dial-in number                                      +44 (0) 20 3426 2807  
Access code                                                635453#               
Reporting calendar 
Interim Results for the six months ending 31 December 2012         28 February 
2013  
Interim Management statement for the quarter ending 31 March 2013  11 April 
2013     
Trading Update for the quarter ending 30 June 2013                 11 July 2013  
 
Preliminary Results for the year ending 30 June 2013               29 August 
2013     
Hays Group overview 
Hays has 7,800 employees in 245 offices in 33 countries. In many of our global
markets, the vast majority of professional and skilled recruitment is still
done in-house, with minimal outsourcing to recruitment agencies. This presents
substantial long-term structural growth opportunities and has been a key driver
of the rapid diversification and internationalisation of the Group, with the
International business representing 69% of the Group's net fees in FY2012,
compared with around 15% just 10 years ago. 
Our 5,013 consultants work in a broad range of sectors with no one sector
specialism representing more than 26% of Group net fees. While Accountancy &
Finance, Construction & Property and IT represented 64% of Group net fees in
FY2012, our expertise across 20 professional and skilled recruitment
specialisms gives us opportunities to rapidly develop newer markets by
replicating these long-established, existing areas of expertise. 
In addition to this international and sectoral diversification, in FY2012 the
Group's net fees were generated 56% from temporary and 44% permanent placement
markets, and we believe that this balance provides relative resilience to our
business model in the current environment. 
Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil,
Canada, Colombia, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany,
Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico,
the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain,
Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the United Kingdom and the USA. 
Cautionary statement 
This Trading Update (the "Report") has been prepared in accordance with
the Disclosure Rules and Transparency Rules of the UK Financial Services
Authority and is not audited. No representation or warranty, express or
implied, is or will be made in relation to the accuracy, fairness or
completeness of the information or opinions made in this Report. Statements in
this Report reflect the knowledge and information available at the time of its
preparation. Certain statements included or incorporated by reference within
this Report may constitute "forward-looking statements" in respect of the
Group's operations, performance, prospects and/or financial condition. By their
nature, forward-looking statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties and
assumptions and actual results or events may differ materially from those
expressed or implied by those statements.  Accordingly, no assurance can be
given that any particular expectation will be met and reliance should not be
placed on any forward-looking statement.  Additionally, forward-looking
statements regarding past trends or activities should not be taken as a
representation that such trends or activities will continue in the future. The
information contained in this Report is subject to change without notice and no
responsibility or obligation is accepted to update or revise any
forward-looking statement resulting from new information, future events or
otherwise. Nothing in this Report should be construed as a profit forecast.
This Report does not constitute or form part of any offer or invitation to
sell, or any solicitation of any offer to purchase or subscribe for any shares
in the Company, nor shall it or any part of it or the fact of its distribution
form the basis of, or be relied on in connection with, any contract or
commitment or investment decisions relating thereto, nor does it constitute a
recommendation regarding the shares of the Company or any invitation or
inducement to engage in investment activity under section 21 of the Financial
Services and Markets Act 2000. Past performance cannot be relied upon as a
guide to future performance. Liability arising from anything in this Report
shall be governed by English Law, and neither the Company nor any of its
affiliates, advisers or representatives shall have any liability whatsoever (in
negligence or otherwise) for any loss howsoever arising from any use of this
Report or its contents or otherwise arising in connection with this Report.
Nothing in this Report shall exclude any liability under applicable laws that
cannot be excluded in accordance with such laws. 

END 
-0- Jan/10/2013 07:00 GMT
 
 
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