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French state joins cash lifeline for Olympics tech firm Atos

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The French government said on Tuesday it would provide a 50-million-euro ($54-million) loan to Atos, its Paris Olympics data and cybersecurity partner that is struggling under a mountain of debt.

Atos has insisted its will not disrupt its operations during the Games, for which it has been the IT partner since 2002.

This year it is managing more than 300,000 accreditations for the events while also providing cybersecurity for the data and technology systems, with around 300 employees deployed.

Organizers expect the Olympics, which will take place from July 26 to August 11, to be the target of cyber-attacks, and President Emmanuel Macron alleged this month that Russia was trying to undermine the Paris Games through a disinformation campaign.

The French loan for Atos is part of an emergency interim financing package unveiled on Tuesday of 450 million euros, to keep the company running as it tries to raise 1.2 billion euros in fresh capital by July.

In return, the will get a "preferential share" granting oversight of Atos's critical "big data" operations for the French state, such as the supercomputers running its nuclear dissuasion arsenal and other military contracts.

Atos has racked up nearly five billion euros in debt, of which 3.65 billion euros are in bonds and loans that have to be repaid or refinanced by the end of next year.

Its plight worsened in recent weeks after failing to reach deals to sell off two subsidiaries.

That fueled speculation that the group would have to be broken up unless a deal could be reached with creditors.

It also deepened the decimation of Atos's on the Paris stock market since last July.

But the shares jumped nearly 20 percent on Monday after the Butler Industries investment fund said it would support the capital-raising effort alongside Onepoint, Atos's largest shareholder.

Atos has set an April 26 deadline for new financing proposals from existing shareholders and third parties, and targets a return to positive cash flow for 2026.

© 2024 AFP

Citation: French state joins cash lifeline for Olympics tech firm Atos (2024, April 9) retrieved 13 July 2024 from
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