The French government’s competition watchdog has launched an inquiry into the operations of the world’s largest employment agencies in France. The companies, Manpower, Adecco and Vedior, announced the probe into alleged infringement of French and European competition laws but would give no details. They confirmed they are cooperating with investigators and Adecco’s Chief Executive said the authorities suspect collusion.
Shares in all three companies fell – with Vedior suffering worst – as analysts said investors do not like the uncertainty that comes with such investigations.
France is a key market for all three of the staffing firms. That is because employment laws in the country make it difficult for companies to fire staff, prompting them to hire temporary help as needed. The inquiry is expected to last several months. If any wrongdoing is found there could be fines of up to 10% of relevant revenues.