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Hays to Open Malaysia, Chile Offices as Overseas Fees Surge

Sept. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Hays Plc, the U.K.’s biggest recruitment firm, will open offices in emerging markets including Malaysia and Chile in coming months as international fees surge, Chief Executive Officer Alistair Cox said.

Hays posted a 21 percent increase in sales in the year ended June 30 to 3.26 billion pounds ($5.29 billion), driven by growth in Asia. Net income grew eight-fold to 80.1 million pounds, or 5.59 pence per share, from 9.3 million pounds, or 0.48 pence per share, reflecting previous charges for back-office job cuts and a reduced price-fixing fine, the London-based company said today in a statement.

“Over two thirds of our net fees are now generated outside the U.K., and that’s a real milestone,” Cox told reporters on a conference call. “It gives us a very, very good position to take advantage of the many long-term structural growth opportunities.”

Hays increased consultant hiring overseas by 27 percent, opening 12 new offices, including new operations in the U.S., Mexico and Colombia. Net fee growth rose more than 60 percent in Hong Kong, China and Singapore as demand for skilled workers in the manufacturing and engineering industries surged, Cox said.

Net fees in the U.K. and Ireland fell 1 percent to 241 million pounds with growth in the private sector slowing as banks and financial institutions cut staff, Cox said. Net fees in the U.K. public sector decreased 35 percent.

Hays rose 5.05 pence, or 6.7 percent, to 80.55 pence at the 4:30 close of trading in London, giving the company a market value of 1.1 billion pounds. The stock has tumbled 38 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Charles Mead in London at cmead11@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Colin Keatinge in London at Ckeatinge@bloomberg.net

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