Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

City Jobs Giant Feels Profits Pain from Eurozone Crisis

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

City Jobs Giant Feels Profits Pain from Eurozone Crisis

Article excerpt

Byline: Lucy Tobin and Russell Lynch

CITY recruiter Michael Page International was swept up in Europe's debt crisis today, as the firm warned on profits amid more alarming signs of an economic slump on the Continent.

Page, one of the City's biggest whitecollar recruiters, said Europe's woes had triggered a slump in confidence among corporate clients while nervy, would-be jobseekers are staying put -- triggering a sharp slide in business over the past two months.

Today's profit warning is the second time Page has spooked the markets since the summer. Shares in the company -- down more than a third since the end of July -- slumped 11% or 40.1p to 324.8p as the firm admitted pre-tax profits this year would come in short of the [pounds sterling]86.5 million-[pounds sterling]114.2 million range inked in by analysts.

The news came as the latest grim snapshot from the eurozone saw the region's four biggest nations shrinking together in November for the first time July 2009. Germany and France joined Italy and Spain in contraction territory, according to financial information firm Markit, putting the eurozone economy as a whole on course to shrink 0.6% in the current quarter.

Page said the crisis had hammered growth across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, which together account for almost half of its profits. Growth slowed from 23% in the third quarter to 18% in October and November.

There was a glimmer of hope in the UK, where the third quarter's negligible 0.3% growth in jobs strengthened to 1.2% in the last two months, but this was more than wiped out by a slump in Asia, which makes up a fifth of profits.

The picture was even worse in the Americas where growth almost halved in the last two months.

"Markets have continued to weaken as the eurozone crisis and the lowering of GDP forecasts worldwide have reduced client and candidate confidence levels," Michael Page admitted. …

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