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Adecco, Manpower, and Randstad, confirmed today that they are under investigation by the French Competition Authority (CFA). Full details of the investigation have not yet been released by the French authorities.
In a press release, Swiss-based Adecco commented, “Adecco Group was informed [Wednesday] that the French Competition Authority has commenced an investigation of the company and certain of its competitors in France with regards to alleged violations of French competition law. Adecco is fully co-operating with the authority.”
Randstad also confirmed that it was under investigation by the FCA, commenting, “Randstad cooperates openly with the authority, and we are confident that the investigation will result in a positive outcome.”
Manpower expressed similar sentiments in their press release, stating, “We confirm that we were informed [Wednesday] that the FCA (Autorité de la concurrence) had started an inquiry of ManpowerGroup France and some of their competitors. We cooperate openly with the authority.”
Le Monde reported today that; "according to a Randstad spokesperson, the inquiry may try to establish whether some unlawful exchanges of information had happened between the companies, adding that some the Paris headquarters in Paris had been searched yesterday, and some documents had been taken away for further examination.
The French daily added that according to ING analyst Marc Zwartsenburg, the Adecco and Randstad risk a fine as high as €29 million and €17 million, based on the Competition Authorities' decision in 2010 on a similar case for facts going back to 2003-2004.
As reported by Staffing Industry Analysts in our ‘Largest Staffing Firms in France 2011’ Insight. There are approximately 1,500 staffing firms operating in France. Adecco Group dominates the market with 26% of the market share, followed by ManpowerGroup (19%), and Randstad (14%). The top three firms collectively hold as much as 59% of the market share, representing one of the most highly consolidated markets in Europe. It is unclear at present if any other staffing agencies are under investigation by the FCA.
Adecco’s (ADEN: VX) share prices is CHF 57.70, 1.41% up on the day and only marginally down on its 52 weeks high of CHF 58.10 (GBP 40.20). Randstad’s (RAND: NA) shares are trading at €33.57, 0.49% up on the day, while trading remains slightly below the 52 week high of €34.86. ManpowerGroup (MAN: US) have yet to be traded when we went to print.