Atos issues profit warning, second in seven months

Atos issues profit warning, second in seven months

PARIS Reuters - French technology consulting company Atos issued a profit warning on Monday, its second in seven months and came just days after new CEO Rodolphe Belmer, who was appointed in October, officially took over the reins.

In July, Atos said its financial objectives could not be met due to delays on deals with customers and lower margins at its hardware and software resales unit.

I joined the company last week, at the time when the figures were being collected and consolidated. The current state of financial insight leads us to the obligation to issue a profit warning today due to the significant variance in the key performance indicators of the financial KPIs, said Belmer.

Most of the items underlying the severe gap are non-recurring. He said the company has the necessary assets and the talent to run a quick turnaround.

The tenure of Atos' previous CEO, Elie Girard, was tainted by accounting errors and a July 2021 profit warning.

The company's fall from grace saw Atos exit from France's blue-chip CAC 40 equity index and led to speculation about a takeover or the arrival of activist investors.

Atos now expects a 2.4% decline in its 2021 full year revenues, coming in at 10.8 billion euros $12.24 billion - less than a previous forecast for stable sales.

Atos now forecasts an operating margin of around 4% for 2021, compared to a target of around 6% previously, and its free cash flow target is now expected to be negative, at 420 million euros, which is less than a previous forecast for positive free cash flow.

Belmer, who previously led French satellite firm Eutelsat, said he will present a new organization of Atos' board of directors at the end of next month and a new strategy plan in the second quarter of this year.

Atos, whose shares fell by 50% in 2021, will give its 2022 objectives on February 28.