Groupe Crit S.A.

152 bis Ave. Gabriel Peri
Saint Ouen
F-93403 Cedex
Telephone: +33 1 49 18 55 55
Fax: +33 1 40 12 02 84
Web site:

Public Company
1962 as Centre de Recherches Industrielles et Techniques
Employees: 3,500
Sales: EUR 1.12 billion ($1.6 billion) (2004)
Stock Exchanges: Euronext Paris
Ticker Symbol: CEN
NAIC: 488119 Other Airport Operations; 423860 Transportation Equipment and Supplies (Except Motor Vehicles) Merchant Wholesalers; 492110 Couriers; 541710 Research and Development in the Physical Sciences and Engineering Sciences; 541910 Marketing Research and Public Opinion Polling; 551112 Offices of Other Holding Companies; 561310 Employment Placement Agencies; 561612 Security Guards and Patrol Services; 561621 Security Systems Services (Except Locksmiths); 561720 Janitorial Services

Groupe Crit S.A. is one of the top five temporary employment providers in France. The company, based in Saint Ouen, operates more than 350 agencies throughout France. Since the early 2000s, Crit also has added a small number of agencies outside of France, namely in Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Italy, and Morocco. Crit's temporary employment services operate under a number of brand names, including Crit Intérim, Les Compagnons, Les Volants, Effika, and Mayday Travail Temporaire in France; Crit Intérim in Switzerland, Morocco, and Spain; and Propartner in Germany. Although Crit's temporary placement services covers the full range of employment areas, the company has a long-established position serving more specialized markets, such as engineering, research, graphic design or the restaurant sector. Temporary employment services represent nearly 90 percent of Crit's revenues, which topped EUR 1.1 billion in 2004. Crit is also active in two other sectors: airport services, through subsidiary Group Handling, which provides airport and cargo handling services at the Charles de Gaulle Roissy and Dublin International airports; and corporate services, including industrial engineering and maintenance services, consulting, and security services, among others. These operations represent 5 percent and 6 percent of Crit's sales, respectively. Listed on the Euronext Paris Stock Exchange's Secondary Market since 1999, Crit remains controlled by founder, chairman, and CEO Claude Guedj and family, who hold more than 69 percent of the company's shares.

Recognizing a Market in the 1960s

Claude Guedj founded the Centre de Recherches Indus-trielles et Techniques (Crit) in 1962 to provide consulting, engineering, and design services to the mechanical, electrical, and electronics industries. Very quickly, however, the company found itself sending out employees to work directly with its clients, providing onsite technical assistance and other services.

The temporary employment sector was still in its infancy in France at the time, and remained associated with unskilled labor. Yet Guedj recognized the potential market for placing temporary employees in highly skilled, technical positions. Through the 1960s, Guedj oriented Crit more and more toward the provision of temporary and short-term technical assistance services. Crit also expanded to include an increasingly wider range of industries and types of employment.

The French government passed new legislation regulating the temporary employment market in 1972, encouraging the development of the sector. Crit launched its own dedicated employment agency that same year, Crit Intérim. Through the end of the decade, Crit continued to expand and diversify its range of services, adding two new specialized subsidiaries, Les Compagnons and Les Volants, and targeting more specifically industries such as the automotive and construction industries.

During the 1970s, as well, Crit built up a secondary business providing support services to industries. The company began offering engineering, maintenance, subcontracting, and other services. By the end of the decade, Crit's range of services had grown to include industrial cleaning, security, and industrial equipment supply services. The development of France's nuclear power industry, in a government-led effort to reduce the country's dependence on fossil fuel imports, created a demand for specially trained and highly skilled temporary staff. Crit became an important player in this market as well, earning its nuclear power industry certification in 1979.

Crit began building a network of agencies through the 1980s and into the early 1990s. By 1995, the company had established offices covering nearly all of France. The company also had continued to add specialized divisions and subsidiaries, such as the creation of RHF, which focused on training and other human resources functions.

Acquisitions formed part of the group's growth, such as its purchase in 1995 of Delta Capital. That acquisition helped boost Crit's operations in the security services sector. The following year, Crit established a new subsidiary, AB Intérim. The company then bought up Interwork in 1997, adding that company's 29 agencies to Crit's network. By 1998, the company also had bought up two other temporary agencies, SOI Intérim and Free Work. By the end of that year, Crit's national network topped 90 agencies, with total group sales of EUR 176 million ($160 million).

International Growth in the New Century

Crit went public in 1999, listing its shares on the Euronext Paris Stock Exchange's Secondary Market. The listing enabled the company to begin planning new growth moves for the start of the 21st century. As part of that effort, the company redefined its strategy, turning its focus more specifically on its temporary employment operations and its multi-services arm. The change in strategy led Crit to sell off its industrial cleaning operations in 1999.

Crit then launched an aggressive expansion effort that saw its revenues triple by 1998, and then more than double again by 2005. The company began buying up a number of small-scale temporary employment specialists, including the acquisitions of ARS, Performances, and GTI in 1999. These purchases boosted the group's national network to nearly 120 by the end of the year.

The company also began building and diversifying its multi-services division. In 1999, the company acquired Europe Handling, which specialized in providing airport support services. Europe Handling was one of the most important in its sector in France, holding a prized contract for the country's main airport, Charles de Gaulle, in Roissy, near Paris. In another move to expand its range of services, Crit acquired Otessa, a company focused on the special events market. Meanwhile, Crit had become interested in the international employment market, establishing Crit Intérim subsidiaries in Switzerland and Italy that year.

In 2000, Crit stepped up the expansion of its network of employment agencies, opening 12 new agencies in that year alone. These agencies were complemented by the establishment of five new offices focused on providing engineering and maintenance services. Also in 2000, Crit acquired ISS, which provided temporary employment services in the event, catering and restaurant, and reception sectors. Later that year, Crit added another temp group, Effika, focused on industrial services, and Mayday Travail Temporaire, with a specialty in the graphics, graphic design, and web design markets.

Crit completed the year 2000 with the purchase of Dublin-based CityJet Handling, renamed as Sky Handling Partner. The purchase significantly boosted Crit's new airport services wing, giving it the contract to service the Dublin International Airport. The following year, Crit's airport services arm scored another major success, when it won the contract to provide the airport support services at Paris Charles de Gaulle II. The company's sales also had grown accordingly, topping EUR 450 million that year.

In April 2001, Crit boosted its position in Switzerland with the acquisition of Equipe Emploi Services, a network of seven agencies in the country's French-speaking region. These were then placed under the company's Crit Intérim Suisse subsidiary.

In December 2001, Crit made a still more significant acquisition—that of larger rival Eurstt, then France's number four temporary employment group. The acquisition of Eurstt, which cost Crit EUR 125 million, boosted its national network to more than 350 agencies. The purchase also enabled Crit to expand into Germany, with three new agencies, and Spain, with six new agencies. By then, Crit had completed a five-to-one stock split, and received recognition from Forbes magazine as one of the 400 best small-company stocks in the world. The Eurstt acquisition, meanwhile, helped Crit top EUR 1 billion in sales, and also gave it the position as France's leading independent temporary employment agency, and number four overall.

Crit's expansion pace slowed a bit over the next two years as it worked on integrating its Eurstt acquisition. Nonetheless, the company continued to expand. In 2002, the company acquired Awac Technics and K Intérim. The following year, Crit entered Morocco, establishing a Crit Intérim subsidiary there. The company's airport services division meanwhile targeted Congo, establishing a new subsidiary there, Congo Handling. Back at home, Crit established a new specialized subsidiary, Crit Médical, which specialized in providing medical and paramedical personnel.

Company Perspectives:

Groupe Crit, one of the leaders in temporary employment in France: Delegating thousands of people in every area each day; Offering a wide range of specialized services to an international clientele; Building the response to corporate outsourcing needs.

By the end of 2004, Congo Handling had imposed itself as a major player in its market, securing contracts with a number of airlines, including Air France, DHL, and others at the Brazzaville and Pointe Noire airports. In early 2005, the subsidiary added a new client, Toumai Air Tchad, for ground services at the Brazzaville airport. Crit's European airport services operations also were growing strongly, notably through Irish subsidiary Sky Handling Partner's contract in April 2005 to provide services for Iberworld, of Spain, and Air Transat, from Canada, at the Dublin International Airport.

By the end of 2004, Crit's operations included some 48 subsidiaries. The company launched the beginnings of a restructuring effort to simplify its operations, merging its GTI, CP, and K Intérim subsidiaries into its primary Crit Intérim subsidiary. With its dual focus, Crit expected to continue its success into the new century.

Principal Divisions

Congo Handling (Congo); Atiac; Awac Technics; Computer Assistance; Crit Center; Crit Intérim; Crit Intérim (Switzer-land); Crit Maroc (Morocco); Crit Ressources Humaines (Canada); Crit Securite S.A.R.L.; Eurstt France; Eurstt S.A.; Euro Surete; Hillary; K Intérim; Laboralia; Les Compagnons; Les Volants; Otessa; Rush; Sci Cambraie; Sci Rigaud Premilhat; Sci Sarres De Colombe.

Key Dates:

Claude Guedj forms the Centre de Recherches Industrielles et Techniques (Crit) to provide consulting, engineering, and design services.
The company creates a temporary employment subsidiary, Crit Intérim, and expands its range of operations.
The company receives certification for the nuclear power industry.
Security services company Delta Capital is acquired.
The company acquires Interwork, adding 29 agencies.
Crit goes public on the Euronext Paris Stock Exchange; subsidiaries are established in Switzerland and Italy; the company enters the airport services sector with the purchase of Europe Handling.
The company acquires Effika and Mayday Travail Temporaire; CityJet Handling (renamed as Sky Handling Partner) in Dublin is acquired.
The company acquires Eurstt and becomes the leading independent French temporary employment group.
Awac Technics and K Intérim are acquired.
New subsidiaries Crit Intérim Maroc in Morocco and Congo Handling in Congo are established.

Principal Competitors

Manpower France S.A.S.; ADECCO Travail Temporaire S.A.; Inter Alsace; VediorBis S.A.S.; Intérim 25; Adia S.A.; Synergie Travail Temporaire.

Further Reading

"Crit Intérim: une politique de spécialisation et de proximité," Esprit Club, December 2003.

"Crit Takes Over Europe Handling," Les Echos, June 4, 1999, p. 25.

Felsted, Andrea, "Corporate Services in French Disposal," Financial Times, November 19, 2001, p. 26.

"Groupe Crit: contrats en Irlande et au Congo," Boursarama, April 18, 2005.

—M.L. Cohen

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