SThree Half-Year Profits Fall 17%


LONDON -- SThree (ISE: STHR.L) announced that profits before tax fell by 16.9% to 9.3 million pounds in its interim results for the half-year ended May 27, 2012, with management citing rising costs of expanding the international network and relative immaturity of newer international teams that are yet to achieve full productivity as reasons for the dip.

Earnings per shares dropped 15% to 5.1 pence from 6 pence at the same stage last year, though the net cash position remains strong at 31million pounds after payment of a special dividend of 13.2 million pounds in December 2011.

Management seems optimistic, as gross profits at the international specialist staffing business were up 11% year over year to 99.9 million pounds, up from 90 million pounds at this point in 2011, while like-for-like gross profit is up 12.2%. Additionally, new offices have been opened in Oslo, San Diego, Rio de Janeiro, and Brisbane.

Russell Clements, chief executive officer, said: "The Group traded satisfactorily and in line with management's expectations in the first half, particularly given the deterioration in the macro-economic situation seen during the second quarter."

Citing the "seasonally more important second half," Clements continued: "Our strong net cash position will allow us to continue to invest in the Group's future growth while also underpinning our commitment to a robust dividend policy. With a seasoned and strengthened senior management team, we look forward to the future confident that we can optimise our performance whatever the prevailing market opportunity."

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