Atos’ plan to wipe out half of its debt – L’Express

Atos plan to wipe out half of its debt –

Heavily indebted French IT group Atos, which presented its refinancing framework to its creditors on Monday, is seeking 1.2 billion euros and plans to convert almost half of its debt into shares, it said. he announced this Tuesday, April 9 before the opening of the Paris Stock Exchange.

Creditors’ proposals are expected on April 26. An agreement in principle with a group of banks and the State on intermediate financing of 450 million euros, giving breathing space to the IT group until the conclusion of a refinancing agreement “by July 2024”, was also announced.

In exchange for a loan of 50 million euros, the State will have “a preferred share” in Bull SA, part of the “big data” and security (BDS) subsidiary which controls the sensitive and sovereign activities of Atos (including supercomputers used for nuclear deterrence and contracts with the French army), said Atos CEO Paul Saleh on Tuesday during a conference call.

This loan constitutes “a first step in the protection of the group’s strategic activities” announced at the end of last March by the Ministry of the Economy, which “will use all the means at its disposal to guarantee the protection of strategic activities”, indicated Bruno Le Mayor, in a press release.

READ ALSO: Atos dropped by Airbus: “Some companies have an interest in dismantling”

Atos, which is one of the technological pillars of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, is weighed down by a colossal debt amounting to almost 5 billion euros, including 3.65 billion euros in loans and bonds to be repaid or refinanced by the end of 2025.

The company with some 112,000 employees, which has lost 80% of its stock market value in one year, is assisted by an ad hoc agent in its amicable conciliation procedure with its creditors and wants to restructure its debt by July.

Kretinsky still in the running?

Atos saw two operations which were to bring it new money – the sale of its historic outsourcing activities, Tech Foundations, to the Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky and those of “big data” and security, BDS, to Airbus – collapse in quick succession in recent weeks.

READ ALSO: Atos: between Daniel Kretinsky and David Layani, time for big maneuvers

However, the possibility of the group being dismantled is not buried. Daniel Kretinsky would still be interested, according to the Letter, which gave it an alliance with the Canadian company CGI. As for the French Dassault Aviation, in partnership with the engineering consulting group Astek, it would be in the running for BDS activities.

David Layani, the largest shareholder of Atos through his company Onepoint, wants to keep all the group’s assets. He must present his project to the board of directors at the end of April. The investment company Butler Industries provided support on Sunday, which allowed Atos shares to climb nearly 19% on the Paris Stock Exchange on Monday, closing at 2.31 euros.