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Paris Olympics insists it won’t be impacted by Atos woes

Organisers of the Paris Olympics are insisting the games will not be impacted by the troubles of French computer services group Atos.

French firm Atos provides security services for the Paris Olympics
French firm Atos provides security services for the Paris Olympics - Copyright AFP/File ERIC PIERMONT
French firm Atos provides security services for the Paris Olympics - Copyright AFP/File ERIC PIERMONT
Yassine KHIRI, Leo HUISMAN

Organisers of the Paris Olympics are insisting the games will not be impacted by the ongoing troubles of French computer services group Atos, which provides essential services for the competition.

Attempts to sell off parts of the heavily indebted group have fallen through, and the company continues to lose money while its shares tumble.

“We have full confidence in Atos, which has been a partner of the Olympic movement for 30 years and benefits from unique expertise, to honour the contract which binds them to the IOC and therefore to Paris 2024,” the International Olympic Committee said Thursday in a statement to AFP.

The head of the Paris organising committee, Tony Estanguet, said Wednesday that Atos’s Olympic teams were working away and insisted: “We are not at all affected by what happens at the head of the group.”

To put an end to speculation, the organisers have promised to arrange a press visit to the games’ Technology Operations Center by the end of March.

Atos has been the IOC’s technology partner since the Salt Lake City winter games in 2002, in charge of managing 300,000 accreditations.

It is also charged with compiling and delivering real-time competition results and integrating other tech partners such as phone company Orange, digital services company Intel, telecoms equipment provider Cisco, timekeeper Omega and audio-video company Panasonic.

– Warding off cyberattacks –

Atos says some 300 of its employees, out of a total of 110,000, will be committed 24/7 for the duration of the games.

One of its units, Eviden, will be working with the French Cybersecurity Agency (ANSSI) to deter attacks on the games’ information systems, which are expected to be subject to eight to 10 times as many cyber-attacks as the Tokyo games in 2021.

“Obviously, we need to be particularly vigilant given the difficulties the company may be facing, but I have seen no warning signs regarding the situation of the group which would have an impact on the security of what they do to the games,” Vincent Strubel, the director general of ANSSI, said in an interview that appeared Tuesday in daily Le Figaro.

“We are monitoring them closely to ensure that there are no problems. But there are none today,” he said.

Atos has about 3.65 billion euros ($4 billion) of debt, and its share price has slumped 80 percent since last summer, valuing the group at just 200 million euros despite annual revenue of 11 billion euros.

Talks to sell its big data and security operations to Airbus for 1.5 billion to 1.8 billion euros broke down Tuesday.

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

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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