Atos reports profit jump, stock float for Worldline
French computer services group Atos on Wednesday reported a record net profit for last year and said it would float its electronic payments unit Worldline on the stock market.
Atos reported a net profit of 262 million euros ($360.4 million) for the year, an increase of 17.0-percent from the 2012 level, from sales which slipped by 0.9 percent to 8.6 billion euros.
At the end of last year, Atos employed 76,320 people throughout the world, and during the year it recruited 10,806 people, of whom 62.0 percent were in emerging markets.
Atos said that its operating margin rose sharply to 645 million euros, an increase of 78.3 million euros and amounting to 7.5 percent of sales.
Under a plan for 2014-2016, it intends to increase the operating margin annually by 1.0 to 2.0 percentage points from the 2013 level and to raise sales annually by 2.0-3.0 percent.
The company said it intended to buy back shares worth 230 million euros, having spent 116 million euros on buying its own shares last year.
The board recommended a 17.0-percent increase in the dividend payout to shareholders to 0.70 euros per share.
This year it said it intended to raise the operating margin to 7.5-8.0 percent of sales.
It would also obtain a stock quotation for and float Worldline with the intention of making it one of the leaders in Europe for electronic payments. This subsidiary has 7,000 employees and is active in 18 countries.
In 2013, Worldline achieved sales of 1.11 billion euros, an increase of 4.8 percent in the year with an operating margin of 15.0 percent.
© 2014 AFP