Shares of Manpower Inc., the global employment services company, soared Friday after the company reported that its first-quarter profit increased 27 percent, citing growth in the firm's overseas business, while the CEO said it will increase cross-border recruitment in the coming year.

Manpower posted net income of $75.5 million, or 94 cents per share, for the first quarter of 2008, compared with $59.5 million, or 69 cents per share, for the same period a year ago. Analyst polled by Thomson Financial estimated 82 cents per share.

Manpower shares were recently up 12.8 percent to $64.81 during after trading.

The Milwaukee-based company said its Cross Border Connections program was developed over the last two years and is set to take off this year, the company's CEO Jeff Joerres said, according to Reuters.

We think we will be doing cross-border matching on tens of thousands of people over the next year, Joerres said, up from about 4,000 a year now. It's a big opportunity for us.

The cross-border program targets employers in countries like the United Arab Emirates, who depend on imported labor from countries such as Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and India.

Joerres said the company's strategy is to target multinational clients in the Middle East. In line with this strategy, the company bought out the largest professional recruitment company in the Middle East, Clarendon Parker Middle East, for an undisclosed sum earlier in January.

Meanwhile, operations in Europe - namely in Germany and Italy - reported revenue increases of 22 percent and 15 percent, respectively. Manpower's largest country of business, France, posted a 16 percent increase in revenue, to $1.7 billion.

Looking ahead, Joerres said the company expects earnings for the second quarter to be in the range of $1.47 to $1.51 per share, which includes an estimated favorable impact from currency translation of 20 cents per share.