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Atos Origin returns to ME market

French IT services major to restablish operations in GCC and Egypt after five year gap

Atos Origin returns to ME market
Atos will establish operations in Egypt, and a partnership with a Saudi-based investment company.

IT services company Atos Origin is to return to the Middle East, after a five year gap.

The French company has announced that it will set up operations in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, to target the GCC.

Atos Origin Middle East was one of the largest service providers in the region, employing around 500 people, operating primarily in oil and gas, telecoms, and security, with a client list including Saudi Aramco, Qatar E-Government, STC, Batelco and Emirates Airlines.

The business was sold in a management buy out in February 2006, with the parent company citing that the local operation did not "provide support for Atos Origin's international clients on a material scale." The local business was then bought up by HP in October 2007.

For the new operations, Atos will have offices in Egypt, with around 100 employees, and has formed a partnership with a local investment company, based in Riyadh, to serve the GCC region. The Saudi business is set to be established by the second quarter of 2011.

The new operations will be headed up by Samir El Awadi, who moves from a Sales VP role at Atos to become CEO for Egypt and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

"Atos Origin has an ambitious growth plan and setting up operations in Egypt and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries is a clear example. Samir's international sales experience and his extensive political and cultural knowledge of the region and its markets will be a considerable asset to accelerate growth in this strategic and growing market", said Charles Dehelly, Senior Executive Vice President at Atos Origin.

"My goal is to increase our business in this region achieving profitable growth," said El Awadi. "I look forward to working with our global and local experts to deliver the high quality services and solutions that will help organisations further accelerate business growth and stay one step ahead of the competition."

Analyst company Ovum said that Atos Origin may have to work hard to catch up with rivals in the region that have gained a head start, and to build trust with potential clients.

"Despite recent advances, the outsourcing market in the Middle East is still relatively immature, and as such vendors should not expect to see immediate returns on their investment. Atos Origin in particular might be hampered by the importance that end users in the region place on personal relationships, which take time to build up. The company will need to demonstrate not only that it is committed to succeeding in the region but also that it is willing to work hard at building up trust with potential clients," Ovum said in a statement.

"An important step for Atos Origin could be partnering with one or more local vendors, which would not only help to reassure a skeptical market but could also open doors with clients that might otherwise be unreachable," Ovum added.

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