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Atos Origin sells off Middle East operation

IT services giant Atos Origin has pulled back from the Middle East market, striking a deal to sell its regional operation to the local management team for an undisclosed sum. The new owners will continue to use the Atos Origin name for several years.

IT services giant Atos Origin has pulled back from the Middle East market, reaching an agreement to sell its regional operation to the local management team for an undisclosed sum. The new owners will continue to use the Atos Origin name for several years.

The divested unit will continue to provide extended support capability in the region for international clients of Atos Origin. The move to divest its Middle East operation is the latest in a string of disposals carried out by Atos Origin since the end of 2003.

Bernard Bourigeaud, chief executive and Chairman of the management board at Atos Origin, explained: “This disposal takes to almost US$590m the annualised revenue of businesses that we have divested since the acquisition of Sema in January 2004. The divestment programme is now effectively complete and we are fully focused on achieving our commercial and strategic objectives.”

The Middle East unit, which is based in Bahrain, became part of the group when Atos merged with Origin in 2000. The regional unit has forged a solid reputation for implementing IT solutions, particularly in the oil and gas vertical.

According to Atos Origin, the majority of the Middle East unit’s business was with local clients and the operation does not provide support for Atos Origin’s international clients on a material scale. This is cited as the main reason behind the decision to offload the unit.

Analysts at UK-based software and IT services research house Ovum estimate that Atos Origin’s Middle East business contributed revenues of approximately US$83m in 2004 and just over US$59m in 2005.

Atos Origin’s website claims that the Middle East operation boasts around 500 staff in the region with points of presence in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar. Some 400 staff are based at the regional headquarters in Manama, Bahrain, with 75% of this headcount employed as consultants.

Besides oil and gas, Atos Origin Middle East is also involved in the finance and telecoms verticals. According to its website, the unit’s customer base includes a number of high profile clients such as Saudi Aramco, Sabic, Batelco, STC, Qtel and Space Tel.

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