AWF Madison maintained its interim dividend, despite posting a 40 percent slide in first-half earnings due to the failure of three building sector customers. 

The country’s biggest recruitment firm will pay dividends totalling $2.7 million, or 8 cents per share, on Dec. 3 to investors on the register at Nov. 19. The dividend is unchanged from a year earlier. 

The company reported a net profit of $2.1 million, or 6.3 cents per share, in the six months ended Sept. 30. That was down from $3.4 million, or 10.5 cents, a year earlier. Revenue slipped 1 percent to $141.6 million.

AWF Madison had already warned profit would be down due to the failure of three building firms, which cost the firm $1 million to deploy migrant staff elsewhere. It may face another $800,000 depending on whether it can claw back unpaid debts from the firms. 

Continued economic strength helped revenue and profit grow strongly in AWF’s Madison Recruitment and Absolute IT white collar businesses, the company said in a statement. 

Operating cash flow almost halved to $6.1 million, and the company repaid $3 million of bank debt and spent $666,000 to buy Select Dunedin from Select Recruitment. Total cash shrank $600,000 to $5.7 million at Sept. 30. AWF Madison said tighter debtor management helped improve cash flow, with trade receivables down to $35.4 million from $41.8 million a year earlier. 

The shares last traded at $1.73 and have dropped 26 percent so far this year. 

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