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Adecco receives ratings lift from Moody's

Adecco, the human resource provider, has received a boost in its bid to redress regulatory concerns after Moody's Investors Service upgraded its long-term debt ratings and its guaranteed subsidiaries to Baa3 from Ba1.

The upgrade, says Moody's, reflects: Adecco's credit metrics, which remain in line with the requirements for an investment-grade rating; the company's resilient performance during 2004 despite the crisis related to the delay with Adecco's audit; the steps taken by the company to address its internal control weaknesses, and; Moody's increased confidence that the remaining investigations should not have a material impact on the company. This upgrade concludes the rating review initiated on 16 December 2004.

According to Moody's, the delay in the publication of Adecco's audited accounts has not had a material impact on Adecco's business, which showed resilience in the face of this crisis by maintaining a solid operating performance and significantly reducing its debt to €767 million ($1 billion) at the end of September 2004.

The rating upgrade by Moody's also takes account of the fact that Adecco has taken vigorous steps to address internal control weaknesses in North America. Several internal projects have been implemented with the aim of strengthening internal controls and ensuring that the company becomes Sarbanes-Oxley compliant.

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