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Olympics tech firm Atos posts huge loss but says Games unaffected

Debt-ridden French IT group Atos, the cybersecurity and data provider for the Paris Olympics, posted a huge annual loss.

Atos will transmit Olympic and Paralympic game results nearly instantaneously to broadcasters and media during the summer events
Atos will transmit Olympic and Paralympic game results nearly instantaneously to broadcasters and media during the summer events - Copyright AFP Ishara S. KODIKARA
Atos will transmit Olympic and Paralympic game results nearly instantaneously to broadcasters and media during the summer events - Copyright AFP Ishara S. KODIKARA

Debt-ridden French IT group Atos, the cybersecurity and data provider for the Paris Olympics, posted a huge annual loss Tuesday but vowed that its troubles would not disrupt the Games.

The firm will transmit Olympic and Paralympic game results nearly instantaneously to broadcasters and media during the summer events.

Atos, the International Olympic Committee’s technology partner since the Salt Lake City winter games in 2002, is in charge of managing more than 300,000 accreditations.

The company reported a net loss of 3.4 billion euros ($3.7 billion) for 2023 due to asset writedowns and said it was aiming for a debt restructuring by July.

Atos has to repay or refinance 3.65 billion euros of loans and bonds maturing by the end of 2025.

“There are no concerns about the Olympic Games,” Atos chief executive Paul Saleh said in a telephone conference.

“We have just completed a test phase on the operational level which was extraordinarily well received by everyone,” Saleh said.

– ‘Complete confidence’ –

The Olympics organising committee said last week that it had “complete confidence in the Atos teams … to honour the contract which binds them” to the IOC and the Paris Games.

Atos’ cybersecurity arm, Eviden, will provide cybersecurity to the entire information system for the Games, the Olympic sites, personnel and volunteers.

Organisers expect the Olympics, which will take place from July 26 to August 11, to be the target of cyberattacks.

The company, which employs 95,000 people, will have 300 staff dedicated to the Games, providing round-the-clock services during the event.

To ease concerns, Atos has organised a media visit to its Technology Operations Centre, which the company describes as “the control and command centre for technology that supervises all 63 Olympic and Paralympic competition and non-competition venues.”

Atos is also in charge of integrating other tech partners such as phone company Orange, digital services company Intel, telecoms equipment provider Cisco, timekeeper Omega and audio-video company Panasonic.

Concerns about the company’s future grew last week when talks to sell its big data and security operations to European aerospace giant Airbus for 1.5 billion to 1.8 billion euros broke down.

In February, Atos failed to reach an agreement to sell some of its operations to Czech businessman Daniel Kretinsky.

Saleh said in Tuesday’s results statement that Atos was “in discussions with our financial creditors with a view to reaching a refinancing plan by July within the framework of an amicable conciliation procedure”.

“Our operating margin has improved year over year, reflecting the execution of our cost improvement plans, while our cash flow was impacted by workforce optimisation, separation costs and lower working capital actions,” he said.

AFP
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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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