Recruitment specialist Michael Page has improved half-year operating profits by 78 per cent to smash expectations set at the start of the year.
The group, which has offices in Birmingham, Coventry and Nottingham, works for a host of blue-chip firms .
It said it had seen growth across all regions, but drew most encouragement from a strong recovery from its business in France.
And with group profits for the six months to June 30 coming in "well ahead" of both company and City expectations, Page said it was confident of further progress in the second half of the year.
The group has more than 100 offices worldwide,
Its results yesterday showed turnover lifted by 22.4 per cent to £250.4 million with operating profits up to £ 30 . 6 million, from £17.1 million a year earlier. Pretax profits were £30.5 million against £17.2 million.
In the UK sales improved by almost 15 per cent to £127.9 million with operating profits 42 per cent stronger at £15.5 million.
Chief executive Terry Benson described the figures as "outstanding" and said the company had been rewarded for not closing offices during a previous downturn for the recruitment sector in continental Europe.
The continental European business increased profits five-fold to £7.8 million after the largest business in the region - France - returned to growth towards the end of the fourth quarter of 2004 and gathered pace at the start of
Across the group, Michael Page said 73 per cent of its placements were permanent, slightly ahead of the 71 per cent recorded a year earlier.
Among individual sectors, Mr Benson said accountancy and marketing roles continued to be in demand, while there had been some weakness in retail management.
The company will pay an interim dividend of 1.5p a share, an increase of 20 per cent on a year earlier.
Despite admitting UK labour market confidence had been rattled by the recent wave of London bombings Mr Benson said he was comfortable with analysts' expectations for full-year underlying profit to grow by 58 per cent
The company was hit hard by a deep economic downturn shortly after being sold by US employment agency Spherion in 2001.
But spurred on by a strong recovery in recruitment, notably within the accountancy and finance, and information technology sectors in which the company specialises, revenues have been climbing steadily since September
Shares closed down 0.5 at 247.5p.