Day of reckoning for Atos as split-up plan, CEO exit spook buyers By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The brand of Atos is pictured on the Eurosatory worldwide defence and safety exhibition in Villepinte, close to Paris, France June 13, 2022. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

By Mathieu Rosemain

PARIS (Reuters) -French IT firm Atos spooked buyers on Tuesday with a plan to separate its operations and promote property in addition to the departure of CEO Rodolphe Belmer, sending its shares plunging by greater than 25%.

The departure of Belmer, who took over in January, follows weeks of experiences of board divisions over revamping the corporate.

Belmer and the board clashed over the destiny of cybersecurity unit BDS, sources near the matter have stated, as he was keen to promote the enterprise whereas the board needed to retain it.

Atos is deemed strategic by the French authorities for its high-tech property such the manufacture of supercomputers and software program utilized by the military and the finance ministry to handle tax assortment. Former prime minister Edouard Philippe sits on its board.

Belmer’s departure was introduced simply an hour earlier than a capital market day that buyers hoped might restore confidence after a sequence of setbacks that has worn out two-thirds of Atos’s market worth over the previous yr,

Belmer, the previous boss of satellite tv for pc firm Eutelsat, will go away Atos on Sept. 30. Atos shares fell as a lot as 27% in early Paris buying and selling, and have been down nearly 20% as of 0742 GMT.

SPLIT-UPAtos plans to separate into two publicly listed entities and stated it had appointed two deputy CEOs, Nourdine Bihmane and Philippe Oliva, to guide every of those.

The cut up could be aimed toward “unlocking worth” as a part of a broader plan that may value an estimated 1.6 billion euros in 2022-2023, the corporate stated.

Atos will promote property value about 700 million euros, Belmer stated on Tuesday in a name with reporters.

It has already offered its 2.5% stake in funds firm Worldline as a part of its disposals plan, elevating 220 million euros.

As a part of split-up, Atos is contemplating spinning off and mixing BDS with its companies operations, notably these aimed toward serving to prospects transfer to the cloud.

Dubbed Evidian, these operations mixed generated 4.9 billion euros in income in 2021, up by 5% from the earlier yr, and an working margin of seven.8%.

The remaining a part of Atos will embody its declining and loss-making IT infrastructure administration companies, which had gross sales of 5.4 billion euros final yr.

Atos stated it aimed to return to development and income for these actions by 2026.

Requested if he would profit from the two-year severance pay authorized by shareholders in case of an abrupt departure of the CEO inside two years, Belmer stated he had proposed to depart with 9 months value of wage.

Beforehand the boss of Vivendi-owned pay-TV station Canal+, Belmer had promised a brand new begin for Atos after accounting errors and a failed try to accumulate a U.S. firm hit investor confidence.

The weak point of Atos’s shares have made it weak to takeover rumours.

On Monday, the shares fell greater than 10%, following a media report about its future technique.

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