IT services vendor Atos Origin will receive a minimum of $175m from the sale of its North American energy management business Cellnet to private equity firm GTCR Golder Rauner.
Paris, France-based Atos Origin is attempting to reduce its net debt from 720m euros ($888m) at the start of January 2004 to below 600m euros ($740m) by the end of the year, and the disposal of the division is the latest of a series of recent asset sales aimed at achieving this target.
Following Atos Origin’s takeover of the Sema operation of New York-based SchlumbergerSema in September 2003, the company said it would sell low-margin and non-core businesses with annual revenue of approximately 500m euros ($607m).
Cellnet develops systems that enable utility companies to monitor energy consumption in real time, including the reading of electricity, gas and water meters by radio frequency. The operation has 400 staff and was expected to make full-year 2004 sales of $150m.
Atos Origin said it would receive at least $175m for the sale, but this figure may rise subject to satisfying working capital and other financial conditions. Atos Origin said that the $175m would be used to reduce borrowings, regarding any profit or loss on disposal as an adjustment to the Sema acquisition goodwill in the results for the first half of 2004.
Atos Origin has also confirmed that it sold Convergence, a small, low-margin business in North America with annual sales of $15m, for $5m at the end of June 2004. In December, Atos Origin announced the sale of its research and consulting operation Statilogie to smaller rival Soft Computing SA for an undisclosed sum, and in September 2003, sold its document-processing and check-processing operations to Experian.