Recruiter SThree anticipates higher profits

Recruitment specialist SThree has upgraded its full-year profit forecasts and announced the departure of its chief executive.

The group, which specialises in science and technology staffing, said that profits will come in slightly ahead of market expectations after a “strong” finish to the year.

For the year ended November, SThree said adjusted pre-tax profit will be in the range of £49 million to £51.4 million, with the firm having posted £44.5 million the year before.

SThree said that it has seen a strong performance in continental Europe, particularly in the Netherlands and Germany.

Investors welcomed the news, sending shares up 4% on Friday morning to 270.50p.

The firm also said on Friday that boss and company veteran Gary Elden is to step down early in the new year, with a precise date yet to be announced.

A process to replace the chief executive of six years is now under way, SThree added.

Mr Elden said of the results: “The group is benefiting both from the broad geographic reach of its operations, with 83% of gross profit now generated in international markets, and from its focus on the best science, technology, engineering and mathematics markets, where the demand for niche, skilled candidates continues to be driven by a shortage of supply.”

The company ended the year on a positive track with fourth quarter gross profit up 12% year-on-year. Gross profit for the full-year is also expected to be 12% ahead of last year’s £287.7 million.