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Adecco Q4 Profit Declines

Swiss human resources firm Adecco SA (AHEXY.PK) reported Thursday a lower fourth-quarter profit, citing continued softening of revenue growth during the period despite strength in emerging markets.

During the quarter, organic revenue growth was 3 percent. Permanent placement revenues increased 7 percent in constant currency, while revenues from counter-cyclical career transition business declined 6 percent organically.

EBITA, a key earnings measure, was 217 million euros in the fourth quarter, up 3 percent in euros, in constant currency and organically, while EBITA margin was flat with last year at 4.2 percent.

For the full year, EBITA growth was 14 percent organically and EBITA margin was up 10 basis points to 4.1 percent before integration costs. The company said it is on track to reach its 5.5 percent EBITA margin target in the midterm.

Commenting on the company's full-year results, CEO Patrick De Maeseneire said, "In 2011 we achieved double-digit organic revenue growth for the second consecutive year. General staffing, especially the industrial segment, continued to lead growth, while professional staffing growth remained moderate."

Meanwhile, Adecco said it expects additional costs of 10 million euros in the first half of 2012 to further optimize cost base in other European countries and to protect profitability.

In the fourth quarter, net income attributable to shareholders declined to 133 million euros from 141 million euros reported last year. Basic earnings per share were 0.71 euros, down from 0.73 euros per share in the prior-year quarter.

Group revenues for the quarter totaled 5.19 billion euros, up 4 percent in euros and in constant currency. Organically, revenues grew 3 percent from the preceding year, with emerging market revenues surging 21 percent in constant currency.

The board has also proposed a dividend of 1.80 Swiss francs per share for 2011, up 64 percent from the dividend paid for 2010.

In Zurich, Adecco shares closed Wednesday's regular trading at 45.34 francs, down 0.78 percent.

by RTT Staff Writer

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