Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Robert Half International Earnings Q2 2009

So from AP Robert Half announced earnings.

"second-quarter profit dropped 93 percent as unemployment jumped amid the recession"

"For the period ended June 30, the company posted net income after paying preferred dividends of $4.8 million, or 3 cents per share, compared with $72.3 million, or 47 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Revenue fell 39 percent to $749.9 million from $1.22 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected, on average, earnings of 3 cents per share on slightly higher revenue of $755.4 million."

"Robert Half's revenue comes mainly from fees it charges for staffing consulting and services."

"Messmer (chairman and CEO), though, said he was encouraged that "sequential declines (in employment numbers) were significantly less than those reported in the previous quarters.""

Quote to take from their Q & A session:

"Keith Waddell

I guess we would say, outside the US, in the UK and Canada, the pace of the declines has improved. Continental Europe and Asia, the pace of the declines is either the same or worse. When you put them all together, the sequential decline outside the US for this past quarter was about the same as it was the prior quarter, although the components were different.

So, clearly Continental Europe and Asia were later to the game. But that being said; they've clearly caught the same cold that the US had, and are later in the results they are reporting and their impact of the downturn. So, the stabilization trends, may frankly when we talk about eight weeks of stable, that is consolidated and US has actually improved a little bit to offset the decline outside the US."

Yet there is still a decline in revenue. This has not been any different from technology companies reporting a decline in their revenue. What is a catalyst for growth? The stimulus? Rebound in the capital markets?

The main problem is that consumer demand continues to decline. Those with jobs are reluctant to spend. Those without are saving their walnuts for another season or possibly year. There has been a fundamental shift in the consumer which is a large component of the United States economy, which other economies around the world also become affected. Just as companies are trying to save money and invest in R&D most companies still do not see an upturn in the near future. A jobless recovery happened after the implosion, how is this any different.

Revenues will continue to be light especially in the human resources sector. Besides consumer spending small business are indirectly affected by this downturn. Without the capital and the resources to grow their business so does the need for services from a large recruitment agency. Why pay X amount of dollars when X recruitment agency is able to undercut them with the same service offerings. This becomes a low margin business with human capital turning from an asset to a liability. Companies with scale such as Manpower needs to continue to contain cost through reduction in headcount, and invest more in technology.

Trends such as contracting seem to be growing through off base online vendors. Recruitment agencies have no control over this increase in independent contracting.

Tomorrow is MAN's earnings, lets wait and see if this becomes gloom and doom or is there a silver lining in the horizon.

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