Staffing giant Randstad posts 9 percent rise in Q3 core earnings

Randstad, the world's second-largest staffing agency, reported a nearly 9 percent rise in core earnings in the third quarter on Tuesday but saw softness in the United Kingdom and its key market of the Netherlands.

Underlying earnings before interest, taxation and amortisation (EBITA) came in at 271 million euros ($294 million) for the three months to the end of September, up from 249 million euros in the same period last year.

The Dutch firm also posted revenue of 5.34 billion euros, a 7 percent rise on a year-on-year basis and ahead of analyst expectations.

Meanwhile, "perm fees", money Randstad receives when clients are permanently hired via the company, were up 7 percent in the quarter.

"We've seen already 12 quarters of 4 to 5 percent growth so pretty stable picture," Jacques van den Broek, chief executive of Randstad, told CNBC in a TV interview on Tuesday.

"Europe is doing very nicely, most countries are in mid-single digit growth…so overall a pretty stable positive picture."


Revenues in North America, the company's largest market, grew 1 percent. But the U.K., which accounts for about 4 percent of sales, saw revenue fall 15 percent in the third quarter, while underlying EBIT declined by 8 percent.

Randstad's share price fell after Britain voted to leave the European Union (EU) in June over fears that the move could impact hiring and hit the economy across Europe.

The CEO said that these concerns were overstated and while the U.K. market was softer for the company, it had not spilled over into other regions.

"The U.K. in our topline we see a slight growth. Permanent placement is 4 percent down so that is for us a sign of relative uncertainty, not so much an economy that is going down, but uncertainty. But in no way it translates into our European numbers which are actually quite strong," van den Broek said.

Monster acquisition hangs in the balance

Earlier this year, Randstad agreed to buy U.S. online recruiting firm Monster for $429 million in cash. But since then, Monster's largest shareholder, MediaNews Group, which owns nearly 12 percent of the company has been trying to block the deal. MediaNews Group called the sale process "flawed and unorganized" last month and plans to nominate seven directors to replace Monster's entire board.

However, Monster backs the acquisition. Randstad's offer for Monster expires on Friday with the CEO playing down any issues with the deal.

"I'm not concerned. We put a bid out which we think is a fair offer, and our offer expires Friday then we'll see," van den Broek told CNBC.