BRIGHTWORK Group has delivered its strongest ever profits performance for the year ended December 31 after driving efficiencies across its operations.

The recruitment specialist, which has offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh, hiked pre-tax profits by 27.7 per cent to £1.06 million in its latest financial year.

The rise in earnings came as turnover narrowed to £31.5 million from £31.8 million in 2012.

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Brightwork boosted its headcount by 20 per cent over the period, with six staff brought on board with the acquisition of the hospitality and catering sector focused Quality Link Recruitment.

The company hired four staff to focus on its office and business support operations, taking its overall headcount to 52.

Managing director Anthony Knight said the firm had achieved more "consistency" in its dealings with its clients over the period. He said: "We didn't expand the client base much last year, but what we did do was work more efficiently with the client base, which allowed us to make more profits.

"Internally, we've been able to manage our accounts much better and reduce our costs internally [in] running the contracts.

"We have quite a number of long-standing contracts."

Brightwork is focused on recruiting for drinks companies in manufacturing and distribution roles, as well as hiring for more general industrial positions in manufacturing, production and warehousing.

It also has a specialist recruitment arm, BWSR, focused on the professional, technical and managerial sectors, which has seen turnover rise substantially since it was set up in 2008. BWSR turned over £1.3 million last year.

Brightwork's activities are primarily focused on Scotland.

Mr Knight said the company's profits performance last year was "reflective" of the brightening economic outlook.

He noted: "So far this year we have seen a number of new clients already. There definitely seems to be a pick up in the economy here at this moment in time."

Mr Knight said its Quality Link business was enjoying a "very good start to the year" following a settling in phase further to its acquisition.

Brightwork is continuing to use the Quality Link name in its dealings with the hospitality and catering sector.

Asked whether the company would consider making further acquisitions, Mr Knight said: "Most definitely. There are no specific areas, but the areas we like to concentrate on area complementary to our core industrial area, like hospitality and catering and office and business support.

"Another area close to ourselves is the care sector; it would probably be one we will look at."

However, while he said there are more acquisition opportunities coming through than 18 months ago, he added: "I wouldn't say the market for acquisitions is buoyant at the moment, but it is improving."

Asked for his views on the firm's current trading year, he said: "[We have had] a very good start to the year, ahead of our business plan.

"We're seeing good strength in new clients coming on board. The profits will probably be slightly down due to the investment in headcount and developing new people. But the revenues going forward [suggest] a very strong start to the year."

Mr Knight and chief operating officer Charles Turner are jointly the biggest shareholders in the Glasgow-based company.