North East-based recruitment group Nigel Wright has reported a growing loss after unfavourable trading conditions in Europe.
The firm said its new managing director is steering the company to good performance in the current financial year, having taken action at its loss-making offices in Europe.
The Newcastle-headquartered company delivers recruitment and human resource consulting to clients from global offices in London, Aberdeen, Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Dusseldorf, Madrid, Lausanne and Amsterdam as well as on Tyneside.
But the firm said activities in Europe have not been as favourable as the buoyant recruitment market on home soil, affecting last year’s financial performance.
Accounts for the year ended April 2014 show the firm’s pre-tax losses grew from £1.24m to £1.85m, while group turnover also dipped 3.5%, from £14.1m to £13.6m.
Closer to home, however, the firm’s companies Nigel Wright Employment Services and Nigel Wright Consultancy were both profitable, reflecting stronger performance by the firm in the North East compared to some of its European counterparts.
Nigel Wright Consultancy grew sales from £5.6m to £6.1m and almost doubled its profit for the financial year from £187,000 to £330,000.
Meanwhile, Nigel Wright Employment Services recorded turnover of £4.08m, a slight drop in the £4.3m posted for the previous 12 months, and operating profit of £430,000 – 2.9% down on last year’s £443,000.
The firm said that the widening of losses were down to the closure of two of its offices during the last financial year, in Holland and Switzerland, where four of the six staff were made redundant, with the other two employees relocating to other Nigel Wright offices.
In the current financial year, however, a spokesman for the 112-strong business said the firm is confident of returning to profit, with the appointment of Paul Wilson as chief executive in January 2014 giving the company renewed energy.
Gains have already being made in the current financial year, which has so far seen a 7% increase in net income and a 34% rise in EBITDA.
The spokesman said: “It’s been very good so far this year. We’ve had a management change with the arrival of Paul Wilson and he’s brought a lot experience to the business.
“He has more than 30 years’ experience in the industry at national and international level, and that experience has helped to rationalise the business and focus on training and offering high quality services.
“Paul is making a difference straight away and he has thrown himself into the local market, making a huge effort to build confidence in the business, and he has brought a huge amount of energy with him.
“As a company we came out of 2013 and a double dip recession with no growth, and you are looking to improve the business.
“We made some investments internationally but that was the wrong call at the time because the recession hit later than here in the UK.
“We closed offices in Holland and Switzerland in the last financial year and so far this year we’ve already made a 7% increase in net income, and the two teams in the North East in the temping and consultancy teams alone have brought in £750,000 in turnover – that’s a good start.”
The firm was established on Tyneside by Nigel Wright in 1988. In 2010, the Baird Capital Parners group took a majority shareholding in the firm.