LONDON -- Hays (LSE: HAS.L ) -- the international accountancy, construction, and IT recruitment specialist -- is currently down 8.5%, despite reporting an 11% increase profits in its preliminary full-year results to June 30 this morning.
Net fees rose 9%, and operating profit was up 12%, with pre-tax profit up 11%. Nevertheless, basic earnings per share fell 4%, and the dividend per share plummeted 57 pence, to just 2.5 pence from 2011's 5.8 pence.
Chief Executive Alistair Cox commented:
Delivering profit growth above our net fee growth in the increasingly difficult markets we faced is a good result. We have focused on getting the balance right between continued investment to grow our business and rapid action to control costs as many of our markets tightened throughout the year.
Looking ahead to 2013 we expect the overall economic backdrop to remain difficult and our markets to continue to be multi-speed. Achieving the right balance of building scale for the long term, exploiting stronger market segments and reducing costs and driving productivity to maximize the bottom line in more difficult areas will be key to our success.
Hays' share price is now more than 27% below its value at end of June 2011, almost 47% off its post-crunch high in January 2011, and a whopping 62% of its high of May 2006, all of which must come as a considerable disappointment to long-term shareholders.
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