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Hays PLC  -  HAS   

Interim Management Statement

Released 07:00 11-Apr-2013

Interim Management Statement

INTERIM MANAGEMENT STATEMENT

QUARTER ENDED 31 MARCH 2013

11 April 2013

Financial summary

Growth in net fees for the quarter ended 31 March 2013 (Q3 FY13)
(versus the same period last year)
                                                              Growth       
                                                                          
                                                          Actual    LFL(1)
                                                                          
By region                                                                 
                                                                          
      Asia Pacific                                         (15)%     (14)%
      Continental Europe & Rest of World                      5%        4%
      United Kingdom & Ireland                                0%        0%
                                                                          
      Total                                                 (3)%      (3)%
                                                                          
By segment                                                                
                                                                          
      Temporary                                               1%        1%
      Permanent                                             (9)%      (8)%
                                                                          
Total                                                       (3)%      (3)%

Highlights

  * Temp fees resilient with an encouraging return to work across key markets;
    Perm markets remain fragile
   
  * Solid 4%(1) growth in Continental Europe & Rest of World; markets remain
    fragile and mixed, although stable overall. Good growth of 7%(1)in Germany
   
  * Net fees were flat in the UK & Ireland and we saw modest sequential growth
    through the quarter, driven by Temp. Private sector decreased 6%, public
    sector grew 17%
   
  * Asia Pacific net fees decreased 14%(1). Australia decreased 19%(1)but was
    sequentially stable through the quarter. Asia net fees increased 14%(1)
    although market conditions remained subdued
   
  * Consultant headcount was up 1% in the quarter and flat year-on-year as we
    continued our selective investment approach
   
  * We expect full year operating profit to be at the top of the current range
    of market estimates(2),based on an encouraging start to the second half in
    key Temp markets and our continued focus on cost control around the Group,
    as well as beneficial movements in key exchange rates
   
Commenting on the Group's performance, Alistair Cox, Chief Executive, said:

"We have delivered a resilient performance against an economic backdrop that
continues to be mixed and fragile overall. The start to the second half in our
key Temp and Contractor markets has been encouraging and although many Perm
markets remain challenging, they are broadly stable. Our proven ability to
react quickly to the world as it changes, investing in stronger markets while
keeping firm control on costs around the Group, continues to yield benefit in
terms of our financial performance.

Looking ahead, we expect conditions to remain fragile but mixed. Although
several markets are likely to remain challenging, these sit alongside clear
opportunities for growth. The diverse business we have built positions us well
and we remain focussed on delivering long term sustainable growth while driving
profits along the way."

Group

In the third quarter ended 31 March 2013 net fees decreased by 3% on a
like-for-like basis(1) against prior year (net fees decreased by 3% on a
headline basis). Net fees in the Temp business, which accounted for 59% of
Group net fees, increased 1% year-on-year(1) and the underlying temporary
placement margin(3) was stable. Net fees in the Perm business decreased by 8%(1).

The exit rate of Group net fees for the quarter was broadly in line with the
quarter as a whole.

Consultant headcount was up 1% during the quarter and flat year-on-year. We
remained selective through the quarter regarding areas of investment and
continued to focus on tight cost control to maximise Group financial
performance.

Based on an encouraging start to the second half in key Temp markets and our
continued focus on cost control around the Group, as well as beneficial
movements in key exchange rates, we expect full year operating profit to be at
the top of the current range of market estimates(2).

Asia Pacific

In Asia Pacific, which represents 28% of Group net fees, net fees decreased by
14%(1).

In Australia & New Zealand net fees decreased by 18%(1) within which our Temp
business decreased by 12%(1) and our Perm business decreased by 26%(1). Overall
market conditions in Australia remained challenging but sequentially stable
through the quarter. In New South Wales and Victoria, which together account
for 48% of our Australian business, net fees were down 13%(1) and conditions
remained particularly challenging in the Perm business. In Western Australia
and Queensland, which together account for 34% of our Australian business, net
fees decreased by 28%(1) primarily due to continued tough conditions in our
Resources & Mining business. New Zealand delivered good net fee growth of 7%(1).

In Asia, which accounted for 15% of the division, net fees increased by 14%(1),
mainly due to weaker comparatives. In Hong Kong, net fees increased over 100%
(1)and in China net fees increased 15%(1), whereas in Japan net fees were flat
(1). Overall, market conditions remained subdued.

Consultant headcount in the division was up 1% in the quarter but down 9%
year-on-year.

Continental Europe & Rest of World (`RoW')

In Continental Europe & RoW, our largest division which represents 41% of Group
net fees, we delivered solid net fee growth of 4%(1). In Germany, net fees
increased by 7%(1) with strong performances in Accountancy & Finance,
Construction & Property and Life Sciences and solid growth in IT and
Engineering. As the quarter progressed we saw a slowdown in the rates of
growth.

Net fees were flat(1) in the rest of the division, which is primarily a Perm
business, and where market conditions remained mixed and fragile overall. Eight
countries delivered net fee growth of 10%(1) or more, including the key markets
of Canada and Russia. Activity elsewhere continues to be significantly impacted
by adverse macro-economic conditions with 12 countries recording net fee
declines in the quarter.

Consultant headcount in the division was down 1% in the quarter but up 9%
year-on-year.

United Kingdom & Ireland

In the United Kingdom & Ireland, net fees were flat year-on-year with modest
sequential growth through the quarter. Within this, our Temp business increased
by 4%, our Perm business decreased by 7% and by region, we saw good growth in
Yorkshire, the Home Counties, Scotland and the Midlands.

In our private sector business, net fees decreased by 6% as market conditions
remained fragile overall, especially in our Banking and City-related
specialisms. Elsewhere, our Construction & Property, Life Sciences and IT
businesses were amongst those which delivered good growth. Our public sector
business delivered net fee growth of 17%, driven primarily by job churn in the
permanent segment, and activity was notably strong in our Education and
Healthcare businesses.

Consultant headcount in the division was up 3% in the quarter but down 4%
year-on-year.

Cash flow and balance sheet

Net debt ended March at £140 million (31 December 2012: £145.4 million). We
expect Group net debt to continue to reduce in the fourth quarter.

 (1)LFL (like-for-like) growth represents organic growth at constant currency.
   
 (2)As of 10 April 2013 we understand the range of analysts' estimates for
    Operating Profit in the financial year ended June 2013 to be £112.3m to £
    122.5m.
   
 (3)The underlying temporary placement gross margin is calculated as temporary
    placement net fees divided by temporary placement gross revenue and relates
    solely to temporary placements in which Hays generates net fees and
    specifically excludes transactions in which Hays acts as agent on behalf of
    workers supplied by third party agencies.
   
Enquiries

Hays plc
                                                                                          
Paul Venables       Group Finance Director                  + 44 (0) 20 7383 2266      
David Walker        Head of Investor Relations              + 44 (0) 20 7383 2266

Maitland                                                                       
Liz Morley                                                  + 44 (0) 20 7379 5151      

Conference call

Paul Venables and David Walker of Hays plc will conduct a conference call for
analysts and investors at 9:00am United Kingdom time on 11 April 2013. The
dial-in details are as follows:

Dial-in number                                             +44 (0) 20 3139 4830
                                                                               
Password                                                   28930095#           
                                                                               
The call will be recorded and available for playback for seven days as follows:
                                                                               
Replay dial-in number                                      +44 (0) 20 3426 2807
                                                                               
Access code                                                638181#             

Reporting calendar

Trading Update for quarter ending 30 June 2013             11 July 2013       
                                                                               
Preliminary Results for year ending 30 June 2013           29 August 2013     
                                                                               
Interim Management Statement for quarter ending
30 September 2013                                          10 October 2013                    

Hays Group overview

Hays has 7,810 employees in 240 offices in 33 countries. In many of our global
markets, the vast majority of professional and skilled recruitment is still
done in-house, with minimal outsourcing to recruitment agencies which presents
substantial long-term structural growth opportunities. This has been a key
driver of the rapid diversification and internationalisation of the Group, with
the International business representing 70% of the Group's net fees as at 31
December 2012, compared with around 15% just 10 years ago.

Our 5,038 consultants work in a broad range of sectors with no sector
specialism representing more than 25% of Group net fees. While Accountancy &
Finance, Construction & Property and IT represent 64% of Group net fees, our
expertise across 20 professional and skilled recruitment specialisms gives us
opportunities to rapidly develop newer markets by replicating these
long-established, existing areas of expertise.

In addition to this international and sectoral diversification, the Group's net
fees are generated 59% from temporary and 41% permanent placement markets, and
we believe that this balance gives our business model relative resilience in
the current environment.

This well diversified business model continues to be a key driver of the
Group's financial performance.

Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil,
Canada, Colombia, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany,
Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico,
the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain,
Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the United Kingdom and the USA.

Cautionary statement

This Interim Management Statement (the "Report") has been prepared in
accordance with the Disclosure Rules and Transparency Rules of the UK Financial
Services Authority and is not audited. No representation or warranty, express
or implied, is or will be made in relation to the accuracy, fairness or
completeness of the information or opinions made in this Report. Statements in
this Report reflect the knowledge and information available at the time of its
preparation. Certain statements included or incorporated by reference within
this Report may constitute "forward-looking statements" in respect of the
Group's operations, performance, prospects and/or financial condition. By their
nature, forward-looking statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties and
assumptions and actual results or events may differ materially from those
expressed or implied by those statements. Accordingly, no assurance can be
given that any particular expectation will be met and reliance should not be
placed on any forward-looking statement. Additionally, forward-looking
statements regarding past trends or activities should not be taken as a
representation that such trends or activities will continue in the future. The
information contained in this Report is subject to change without notice and no
responsibility or obligation is accepted to update or revise any
forward-looking statement resulting from new information, future events or
otherwise. Nothing in this Report should be construed as a profit forecast.
This Report does not constitute or form part of any offer or invitation to
sell, or any solicitation of any offer to purchase or subscribe for any shares
in the Company, nor shall it or any part of it or the fact of its distribution
form the basis of, or be relied on in connection with, any contract or
commitment or investment decisions relating thereto, nor does it constitute a
recommendation regarding the shares of the Company or any invitation or
inducement to engage in investment activity under section 21 of the Financial
Services and Markets Act 2000. Past performance cannot be relied upon as a
guide to future performance. Liability arising from anything in this Report
shall be governed by English Law, and neither the Company nor any of its
affiliates, advisers or representatives shall have any liability whatsoever (in
negligence or otherwise) for any loss howsoever arising from any use of this
Report or its contents or otherwise arising in connection with this Report.
Nothing in this Report shall exclude any liability under applicable laws that
cannot be excluded in accordance with such laws.

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Interim Management Statement - RNS