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SThree expects profit above forecasts, CEO Elden to step down

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By Reuters

(Reuters) – British recruiting firm SThree Plc <STHR.L> announced the departure of its CEO on Friday, while also raising its forecast for annual profits led by stronger demand for hiring in international markets.

Gary Elden will leave SThree early next year after a six-year stint as chief executive officer, the company said without giving a reason for his departure. A search for his successor is underway.

Shares in SThree rose nearly 7 percent to 278 pence in early trade on the London Stock Exchange on Friday.

SThree has enjoyed double-digit increases in profits from international markets — its continental Europe business likely saw a 57 percent jump this financial year — amid jittery client spending at home driven by Brexit-related uncertainties.

Those jitters have also affected SThree’s rivals, Robert Walters <RWA.L> and PageGroup <PAGE.L>, but both have reported largely upbeat financial results thanks to their exposure to overseas markets. Meanwhile, a third rival, Hays <HAYS.L>, reported slower quarterly fee growth rate in October.

SThree, which helps hire employees for financial, energy, banking and pharmaceutical companies, said adjusted pretax profit in the year ended Nov. 30 should be “slightly ahead” of the high-end of market expectations of 319.6 million pounds.

Gross profit for the year should likely rise 12 percent.

(Reporting by Muvija M and Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)