LONDON (Reuters) - British recruitment group Michael Page International <MPI. L> expects another challenging quarter ahead and nudged its full-year guidance lower on Monday.
The company said that total gross profit rose 0.4 percent year on year to 127 million pounds in its third quarter, with good performances in the United States, Japan, Mexico and the Middle East.
However, its businesses in Australia, France and Germany struggled.
"We expect Q4 to be another challenging quarter, with difficult conditions likely to continue in some markets, but with gradual improvements in others," CEO Steve Ingham said.
It expects full-year operating profit to be around 68 million pounds. The consensus for operating profit for this year was 70.5 million pounds in a Thomson Reuters poll of 16 analysts.
The recruitment sector has slowed in the past 12 months as a deteriorating outlook for the global economy and weakness in the banking sector led to companies delaying hiring and workers being more cautious about changing jobs.
However, recruiters say that the picture is improving in Britain. Michael Page said that gross profit rose 5 percent year on year in its UK business, in line with an upbeat statement from rival Hays <HAYS. L> last week, which said that net fees in Britain rose 8 percent in the quarter with a pick-up in its permanent business.
Michael Page also said that it had appointed Kelvin Stagg as acting chief financial officer after Andrew Bracey's surprise resignation on Friday. Stagg was the group's finance controller and company secretary.
The company did not comment on the reason for Bracey's resignation.
Shares in Michael Page were down 5.4 percent at 0720 GMT, underperforming the wider market. ($1 = 0.6271 British pounds)
(Reporting by Lorraine Turner; Editing by Paul Sandle and David Goodman)