Longbridge share price 'tarred with same brush' as other recruiters

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The firm's share price has fallen by more than 40% since early April, when it announced that its revenues rose by 50% in 2000 compared to the previous year, with operating profit up 73%.

Revenues for the first quarter of 2001 &quotbucked the trend&quot in the recruitment sector by being in line with market expectations, the firm said. The same was true of second quarter revenues and the outlook for the rest of the year.

&quotDespite all the above, our share price continues to be marked down in a difficult stock market,&quotthe firm added.

Some other recruitment firms, such as Robert Walters, Harvey Nash and Michael Page have announced profits warnings in recent weeks. Their share prices have also fallen sharply.

&quotYou do feel that perhaps we are being tarred with the same brush as other firms,&quot said a Longbridge spokeswoman.

Longbridge did not give revenue figures for the first half of 2001 and disclosed nothing about profits, saying they would be reported in September. It is also not alone in finding positive news to report.

Michael Page says that in spite of difficult market conditions, it still expects its turnover to grow by 19% in the first half, with gross profits up 17%.

Longbridge says it is hiring more consultants and increasing other investments, at the risk of lower profits in the short term. It said its strategy during the current weak economic climate was to build market share.

The firm operates in legal and financial services search, as well as insurance, energy and other sectors.