Michael Page sees strong growth

<p>The UK recruitment firm says it will pay a special dividend to return cash to shareholders.</p>

Michael Page, a British recruitment firm that specialises in helping fill permanent positions with experienced job candidates, has reported strong performance.

On Thursday (August 13th), the company said it would be paying a special dividend of 16p per share to return cash to shareholders. that's in addition to an interim dividend of 3.6p per share. The dividends are expected to be paid out in October.

The firm explained that it would be paying out more than expected sooner, following strong demand in its home market that had helped boost half-year profits.

Chief executive Steve Ingham said this was the first time in the company's 39-year history that it had made the decision to pay a special dividend to shareholders.

"Undeniably positive"

According to Michael Page, the steady improvement in the UK's economic outlook had helped improve the firm's financial figures, as clients were seeking candidates for jobs in sectors such as finance, property and construction.

Mr Ingham explained that the company had seen good growth overall in most of its markets – and in both the UK and the US. He told Reuters that this helped to offset changes in the foreign exchange rates, which had cost the firm £11 million.

"Some of our largest markets are doing well. The trend is undeniably positive [...] so generally speaking things seem to be improving," he said.

Michael Page posted a pre-tax profit of £40.4 million for the first half of 2015. This is up 13.7 per cent compared to the same period last year and the company has also reiterated its full-year expectations. Analysts expect the company's pre-tax profits for the year to be £72.2 million.

During early trading, shares in Michael Page jumped up by 4.7 per cent. This made it one of the biggest gainers on the mid-cap FTSE FTMC index. This gave it a 34 per cent rise since the start of the year, bringing the market value to 1.8 billion pounds.

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