IT services provider Atos Origin SA attempted to reassure the investment community yesterday when it issued a statement saying it expects a 7% operating margin in 2004.
Paris, France-based Atos Origin’s shares took a dip this week on concerns that it had failed to update the market sufficiently at its preliminaries on the potential impact its $1.8bn acquisition of SchlumbergerSema would have on profitability. However, in the new statement, it said it currently expects the operating margin of the newly combined group in 2004 to exceed 7%.
Atos Origin is currently completing the final hurdle in its takeover of the majority of the Sema business from oil field services giant Schlumberger. The company has been praised in the past for its ability to integrate acquisitions – its July 2001 takeover of Dutch rival Origin was relatively painless.
In the preliminaries last week, the company said it had reduced its net debt to 270m euros ($342.9m) at the end of 2003, from 440m euros ($558.8m) at the start of the year. However, it plans to give guidance on its year-end net debt when it publishes its annual report on March 10.
It also pointed out that demand in the market remains sluggish. The group believes that sentiment is improving slowly within the IT services market, but that actual spending continues to be restrained, especially within Europe, it said.
This article is based on material originally published by ComputerWire