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Adecco staffing firm posts big quarterly win

Adecco, the world’s biggest staffing company, posted a €42 million (SFr61.5 million) fourth-quarter net profit, beating analysts’ expectations.

The Zurich-based company said on Wednesday that net profit for all of 2009 amounted to €8 million on a 26 per cent year-on-year drop in income.

Net profit in 2008 totaled €495 million.

In a statement the company said it expected the positive trend to continue as major markets in France and North America had returned to growth in the first two months of 2010.

“While visibility on demand in the coming months remains low, management is gaining some confidence in the recovery of the industry,” Adecco said. “Based on current developments, management expects a continued improvement of market conditions.”

For much of last year the firm grappled with slumping demand for workers as the economic crisis weighed heavily on payrolls and prompted companies to cut jobs.

For the fourth quarter of 2009 revenue fell to €3.79 billion from €4.63 billion for the same quarter last year, when the company posted a €22 million loss. The company cut selling, administrative and general expenses by around 20 per cent compared with the previous year. Analysts had expected fourth-quarter profits of around €34 million.

Adecco stock currently trades at 14 times projected 2011 earnings and is on track to pay a 2009 dividend of SFr0.75 a share. and agencies

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