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Saongroup to post double-digit revenue growth for second year

Saongroup, the Irish recruitment business that's owned by businessmen Denis O'Brien and Leslie Buckley, said it expects to post double-digit revenue growth again in 2012 after delivering a 14pc rise in 2011.

Releasing results yesterday for 2011, Saongroup said that revenue had climbed to €31.7m from €27.9m in 2010. Pre-tax profits nearly halved to €1.1m from €2m as the company continued to reinvest in its established businesses and those in emerging markets.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Saongroup chief executive Ciaran McCooey said that to date in 2012 the company had performed "very well" and that it was on track to deliver double-digit revenue growth.

The company's recruitment websites are established in diverse geographies from China to Nicaragua and Ireland to South Africa.

Earlier this year Saongroup said it was investing an additional €25m in its China division to bring its total investment there to date to €40m. It's one of the top three recruitment companies in the country having entered the market in 2006.

Mr McCooey said he expected Saongroup to be active in 130 cities by the middle of next year, while the company will likely employ about 3,000 staff there by the end of 2012 and as many as 4,000 next year.

Chinese cities

He said that Saongroup is primarily focused on second and third-tier Chinese cities with populations typically between five million and ten million people that have even higher growth rates than Beijing or Shanghai.

He said the majority of clients within those cities are SMEs that in an Irish context would be considered reasonably large.

Saongroup chairman Leslie Buckley said "enormous potential" remained for future growth at the group.

Mr McCooey added that in Ireland, Saongroup's Irishjobs.ie website continued to witness a twin-track employment environment.

Foreign multinationals, and even indigenous Irish firms focused on exports, continued to demand staff, while sectors such as IT and finance remain strong.

But he said that in the domestic economy, job weakness persisted. However, he said demand for employees in the hospitality sector had increased.

Saongroup's latest report on the Irish jobs market – for the second quarter of 2012 – shows that there was an increase in the number of jobs advertised online in 23 out of 28 sectors. The total number of advertised jobs was up 13pc.

The group's 2011 accounts show that net turnover at Saongroup's established businesses rose to €23.1m from €20.3m in 2010, while in its developing businesses revenue climbed to €8.5 from €7.5m. Its established businesses made a €4.4m operating profit last year, while developing businesses made a €3m loss.

Irish Independent