August 13, 2014 / 6:38 AM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-Michael Page sees improved outlook after H1 profit rise

(Adds detail, background)

LONDON, Aug 13 (Reuters) - British staff recruitment firm Michael Page said the outlook for its business was gradually improving after it posted a 11 percent rise in first half pretax profits on Wednesday.

The company said pretax profits rose to 35.6 million pounds ($59.85 million)for the period ending Jun. 30, from 32 million pounds a year earlier, after all four of its regions delivered year-on-year growth.

Michael Page, which mainly finds candidates to fill permanent positions, said it had seen particularly strong growth from the U.S., Britain and China and raised its interim dividend by 5.2 percent to 3.42 pence, which will be paid to shareholders on Oct. 3.

However, the impact of a strong pound hit gross profits by 19 million, and earnings before interest and tax by 3 million in the first half. The pound gained over 3 percent over the first six months of the year against a trade-weighted basket of currencies =GBP.

“Looking ahead, we expect market conditions to remain challenging in Brazil and France, and for Australia to stabilise,” said chief executive Steve Ingham in a statement.

The company said it expected to perform in line with market expectations for the full year, if growth rates were maintained and foreign exchange rates remained constant.

Michael Page is expected to report an average estimate of 83.14 million in full year pretax profits, according to a Thomson Reuters poll of 20 analysts. ($1 = 0.5948 British Pounds) (Reporting by Li-mei Hoang; editing by Sarah Young)

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