Updates from Michael Page, Resolution
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We start this morning with half-year numbers from recruiter Michael Page. Gross profits slip -4.4% to £261.9m (2012: £273.9m) while revenues are upped slightly by +0.1% to £503.2m. The interim dividend is maintained at 3.25p.
There was good performance from North America the company claims, plus Japan, Mexico, Spain and the Middle East. However its business experienced a difficult first half in Australia.
"Activity levels remained strong throughout the second quarter, but with difficult conditions likely to continue in several markets and as this is the seasonally quieter summer period in both Continental Europe and the UK, we expect Q3 will be another challenging quarter."
Next, insurer Resolution Limited. There's operating profit before tax of £191 million (30 June 2012: £163 million) while earnings per share climb +17% to 13.26p (up from 11.32p last year). Around £154 million of cost savings have been secured, the company claims.
In terms of wider business performance Resolution claims strong growth from its UK division to the value of new business of £89 million, up 41%; its international division saw core new business value worth £21 million (30 June 2012: £22 million), so it claims.
"The strong performance announced today," says chief exec Andy Briggs, "reflects the attractive strategic outlook of the Group and has been led by the UK division where higher value of new business has been written at a lower cash cost."
Lastly, chemicals player Synthomer - formerly known as Yule Catto - has announced that pre-tax profits have slumped 10.3% to £48.6m on poorer demand from Europe. However growth in Asia was driven by strong nitrile demand and modest recovery in margins from H2 2012 levels the company claims.
Business in Europe has remained "challenging", with a continuation of the weak demand trends seen in the second half of 2012 reflecting the current economic environment, the company says.
"For the balance of the year the Board expects our European business profitability will be somewhat lower than the first half, largely reflecting the impact of normal seasonal factors. The Asia and ROW [rest of world] business is expected to operate at a similar level to the first half."