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March 17 (Reuters) - British recruiting firm SThree reported flat gross profit at constant currency for the first quarter, held back by a slower UK and Ireland market following Britain's vote to leave the European Union.
Gross profit at constant currency for the UK and Ireland fell 19 percent for the quarter to Feb. 28, sharper than the 12 percent drop seen in the fourth quarter.
"Looking ahead, political and macro-economic uncertainty remains at heightened levels in a number of our key regions," Chief Executive Gary Elden said in a statement.
First-quarter reported group gross profit, however, rose 12 percent to 65.1 million pounds ($80.3 million).
The company makes about 80 percent of its gross profit outside Britain and Ireland, it said.
"The outlook (for the UK) is slightly better than what we expected at the end of last year," CEO Elden told analysts. "But, there's still a lot of uncertainty there."
The shares were down 2 percent at 306 pence at 1018 GMT.
SThree places staff with financial, energy, banking and pharmaceutical firms.
It said in December it would focus on hiring people for temporary jobs in Britain and Ireland, in turn cutting some of its employees focused on recruiting for permanent jobs due to weaker energy, banking and the public sector hiring markets.
$1 = 0.8112 pounds Reporting by Esha Vaish in Bengaluru; editing by Jason Neely