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Atos: sale plan could be modified

( - Atos confirmed on Tuesday that it has entered into advanced negotiations with a view to modifying and simplifying certain terms of the plan to sell its Tech Foundations subsidiary to Daniel Kretinsky.

According to information published by BFM, the technology group and its new chairman, Jean-Pierre Mustier, would like to avoid the Czech billionaire becoming a shareholder in Eviden, the cybersecurity arm, in order to allay the concerns expressed by French parliamentarians and the Ministry of Defense.

In exchange, Atos would like the price of Tech Foundations to be increased, with the figure of 150 million euros being mentioned.

Atos has also confirmed that other initiatives could be envisaged as part of its capital increase plan, with the aim of meeting debt maturities in 2025.

The company says it is evaluating the possibility of accessing the capital markets (debt and equity) and/or considering the sale of additional assets, while a loan of 1.5 billion euros is due to mature in January 2025 before a bond issue of 750 million euros matures in May 2025.

"In conclusion, uncertainty prevails more than ever on the file, which the market sanctioned yesterday (-10%)", reacted analysts at Invest Securities this morning.

While J-P Mustier's intentions are laudable, it is difficult to determine his room for maneuver and, above all, it is difficult to envisage a more favorable scenario for current Atos shareholders without a significant increase in the sale price of Tech Foundations', adds the research department.

At the same time, S&P downgraded Atos' credit rating last night from 'BB' to 'BB-' with a negative outlook.

In its press release, Atos mentions a 'negligible' impact on its interest expenses, but this did not prevent the stock from losing a further 3.5% in early trading on the Paris Bourse on Tuesday.

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