Manpower said it would appeal the council’s ruling, while Adecco and Randstad are studying options.
Milwaukee-based Manpower senior vice president and legal officer Kenneth Hunt said the fine was unwarranted.
“We are very concerned by the decision of the Competition Council, as we take seriously our commitment to the highest standards of ethical business practice as well as ensuring
that we are in full compliance with the laws of the communities we serve,” he said.
“The council’s holding that our French operation was broadly engaged in a concerted practice to avoid competition on price is not supported by the facts of the case, and the fine imposed by the council is excessive as a measure of the damage to the economy that the fine is supposed to reflect.”
Manpower’s fine was $53.8 million and was based on a calculation on gross profit from French operations.
Switzerland-based Adecco’s fine was $43.8 million.
“The company will carefully analyze the decision before taking a final position in terms of a potential appeal,” the company said.
The French Competition Authority’s investigation also involved Vedior NV, which was acquired by Randstad. Its portion of the fine was $23.3 million.
“Having received the findings just now, we will continue to study them carefully,” a Randstad spokesman said.