At today's Annual General Meeting of Empresaria Group plc ("Empresaria" or "the Group"), the international specialist staffing group, the Board is making the following statement:
Group operating performance in the year to date reflects the trading environment highlighted in the statements accompanying the release of our 2010 results in March. Both revenue and net fee income in the financial year to April are up on the same period in 2010.
In Japan, both our Tokyo businesses returned to profitability in April after the impact of the earthquake in March. Gross margins in Germany are recovering following changes to certain temporary workers' pay tariffs and subsequent negotiations with clients over billing rates, having, as previously highlighted, been adversely impacted in the early part of the year. The legal challenges to the temporary staffing industry in Germany continue through the courts with no expectation of any resolution or clarification as to any potential liability in the near future.
Our investment in a new Singapore hub with brands that we have brought in from the UK at the start of the year is showing encouraging results and we are currently planning further investment in the hub concept within other Asian markets.
We continue to review Group operations in line with our stated objective to increase over time the financial contribution of professional staffing operations over technical/blue collar businesses. In this context we recently completed on the sale of our UK supply chain operations to the management team. The disposal is expected to have only a modest impact on full year profits.
Market conditions across the Group remain broadly positive. Although the Board remains cautious as to short term outlook it is confident as to Group prospects.