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Randstad profit rises 3%

April 25 2008

Fourth-quarter net income rose 3% at Randstad Holding NV amid growth in European and Asian markets and a decline in North America.

"In a market that shows slightly lower growth than last quarter in Europe, which continues to grow fast in Asia, but that remains weak in North America, we have again managed to improve our overall market share," CEO Ben Noteboom said.

Netherlands-based Randstad, the world's third-largest staffing firm, posted first-quarter net income of euro73.3 million (US$115.8 million), compared with euro71.5 million in the same period last year.

First-quarter revenue rose 6% to euro2.24 billion (US$3.53 billion) from euro2.10 billion in the first quarter of 2007.

Gross margin edged down to 21.5% from 21.6%.

In North America, revenue fell 16% to euro241.0 million (US$380.8 million) from euro286.2 million. Revenue would have fallen only 3% excluding the effects of currency conversions, acquisitions, and disposals.

North American first-quarter gross margin slipped to 17.0% from 17.3%.

Randstad said it closed 20 North American branches in the second half of 2007, and that its Canadian operations showed strong performance in the first quarter.

Also, Randstad shareholders on Wednesday approved plans to buy Vedior NV, the world's fourth-largest staffing firm. Vedior shareholders, today, approved the takeover, DutchNews.nl reported.

Randstad launched its offer for shares of fellow Dutch staffing firm Vedior on April 1. Randstad will pay euro9.50 plus 0.32759 in its own shares for each Vedior share; the offer values Vedior shares at euro19.22. The offer is contingent on 66.67% of all Vedior shares being committed. The offer is scheduled to end May 9.

Randstad Holding NV
For the first quarter ended March 31, 2008, compared with the same period in 2007.
Revenue: euro2.24 billion (US$3.53 billion), +6%
Net income: euro73.3 million (US$115.8 million), +3%

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