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USG people announces cuts

January 22 2009

USG People, an Almere, Netherlands-based staffing firm, announced today it will cut 540 full-time positions and close 93 branches in France, Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands. The reduction in employees will be achieved, through a large extent, by natural attrition, the company said.

The French, Spanish and Portuguese markets declined quickly, while the cuts in the Dutch market are being carried out to maintain the level of profitability, the company said.

"The French, Spanish and Portuguese staffing markets are undergoing an extraordinary downward movement as a consequence of the credit crisis," USG People CEO Ron Icke said. "During normal cyclical movements, economic growth and decline alternate much more gradually. With the current optimization of our network we are anticipating ongoing difficult market circumstances in 2009."

The company also said it will write off euro68 million (US$95.9 million) in goodwill for the fourth quarter, primarily because of activities in France, Spain and Portugal. Although the credit crisis has clouded short-term expectations, the company said long-term expectations for the region remain positive. Spain has a temporary work penetration rate of far below the European average, it said.

USG People has operations throughout Europe and provides commercial and professional staffing.

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