Shares in Michael Page International were down on the FTSE 250 in morning trading after the recruitment firm reported a surge in pre-tax profit for the half year ended 30 June.

The group said that revenue in the period rose by eight per cent to £393.5 million, while pre-tax profit jumped 42 per cent to £61.4 million.

Despite the rise Michael Page said that it would be holding its interim dividend at 2.88 pence per share.

In Asia Pacific, Latin America and other developing countries the group said that it was growing 43 per cent year on year. The group also said that around 71 per cent of its gross profit had been generated outside of the United Kingdom, while 53 per cent had been generated from non-finance and accounting disciplines.

The group's net cash fell from £99.2 million at the end of the same period last year to £66.7 million.

Steve Ingham, Chief Executive of Michael Page, said, "We delivered a strong performance in the first half of 2010, driven largely by greater permanent recruitment activity as confidence levels improved, leading to higher rates of job churn. While we are now entering the seasonally quieter holiday period, we have seen a continuation of these trends in the Group's performance during July.

"We are benefiting from our investment in diversifying the Group internationally, with over 70% of our gross profit in the first half derived from areas outside of the UK and more than 50% of our gross profit generated from non-Finance and Accounting disciplines. Over 40% of our fee earners are located in developing recruitment markets, where prospects for long-term growth are strong. We have market-leading positions in specialist recruitment in Asia and Latin America and are particularly optimistic about the opportunities available to us in these regions, where we will continue to invest in additional headcount. In the UK, Continental Europe and North America, we have experienced improvements in job flow in virtually all markets.

"It is the nature of our business that visibility is short and the general level of business confidence and economic activity may be threatened by fiscal consolidation in the UK and Europe, however, we remain quick to react to changing market conditions. Having maintained our presence in all our markets, the strength of our geographic discipline and industry sector diversification, combined with our operational gearing, means that our profitability is much improved over last year."

By 08:55 shares in Michael Page International were down 0.80 per cent to 370.00 pence per share.