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Foreign Companies Scrapping Paris Events After Terror Attacks

Foreign Companies Scrapping Paris Events After Terror Attacks

Corporate events planned for Paris are going dark as Europe’s worst terror attack in a decade spurs foreign companies to scrap visits because of concerns over security and travel disruptions.

The Netherlands’ ABN Amro Bank NV, Japan’s Sharp Corp., and home-sharing startup Airbnb Inc. are among companies that have curtailed or canceled events or asked employees to avoid travel to Paris after the Friday assaults that killed at least 129 people.

A survey by the Business Travel Coalition, which represents corporate travel managers, found that 20 percent of respondents said they would likely cancel some trips to France, and 70 percent would allow employees discretion in deciding whether to make such trips.

On Monday shares of hotel and transport operators like Accor SA and Air France KLM plunged amid investor worries about a decline in travel to the most-visited country in Europe.

ABN Amro Chief Executive Officer Gerrit Zalm had planned to visit Paris on Monday for meetings with investors ahead of the Dutch bank’s initial public offering. Those appointments were replaced by conference calls, according to two people familiar with the planning. Earlier, a senior executive at a global investment bank said Asian clients had canceled a planned trip after the attacks.

Government travel advisories reflect ongoing concerns about security. Britain and Canada have recommended extreme caution to citizens visiting Paris, and Australia has advised its residents to “reconsider” their need to travel to the capital and surrounding region.

The U.S. embassy in Paris spiked a presentation of innovations targeted at fighting climate change on Tuesday, which Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz was set to attend. The meeting was to be a warm-up for the United Nations climate change conference set to start Nov. 30, which will go ahead as planned.

French companies with operations in the Middle East face a different challenge as they step up security because of worries their staff could be targeted by extremists. Total SA, which bought about 18 percent of its oil and gas from the region last year, said it has raised security measures to the highest level but declined to provide details for fear of forewarning possible attackers. Renault SA, which has manufacturing facilities in Morocco and Algeria, also says it has tightened security.

Two of Paris’s signature industries — hospitality and luxury — saw cancellations due to Friday’s violence. Airbnb dropped the final day of a gathering of 6,000 property owners from around the world that had started on Thursday and was set to conclude Saturday.

And the New York Times Co. postponed a two-day luxury conference in Versailles where attendees including Victoria Beckham, Estee Lauder President John Demsey and Publicis SA Chief Executive Officer Maurice Levy were due to gather to discuss challenges and opportunities for the sector.