Atos Origin unveils empowerment deal

9 July 2010

French information technology company Atos Origin has announced an empowerment deal that will see a 26% stake in its South African subsidiary being sold to a consortium of black investors, comprising AWCA Investment Holdings (AIH) and Manteo Investments, for an undisclosed amount.

Atos Origin provides hi-tech transactional services, consulting, systems integration and managed operations to organisations in a wide range of sectors including telecommunications, media, manufacturing, financial services, transport, healthcare and medical services.

“Africa is an important territory in Atos Origin’s overall growth ambitions,” Atos Origin South Africa chairman Winfried Holz said in a statement this week.

“This transaction will strengthen our business and will give us a boost to participate in growth opportunities in this fast emerging IT-services market.”

Continental expansion

Atos Origin South Africa, the company’s sub-Saharan African subsidiary, set up operations in South Africa in 1999. The company now employs 250 people providing IT services to the country’s major telecommunications operators, including MTN, Vodacom, Cell-C and Telkom. The company has business operations in Kenya and Nigeria.

“Our new shareholders are experienced business people with networks in many industries. They will help us take our business to the next stage,” said Atos Origin South Africa country manager Adrian Ralph.

“Together, we will diversify into new industries such as financial services and the public sector and increase our presence in the rest of the continent.”

Value creation, transformation

AIH was established in 2008 by 60 black women chartered accountants, all of whom are influential business people and captains of industry, spread across diverse sectors of the economy.

The company distributes a portion of its dividends through the African Women Chartered Accountants (AWCA), a non-profit organisation started in 2002 as a platform for aspiring and qualified black women chartered accountants.

“This investment is in line with our company’s philosophy to participate in high-growth opportunities where we can add value and create opportunities for our shareholders and AWCA members,” said AIH director Karabo Nondumo.

“We are already actively involved in value creation and further transformation of the company.”

Strong local management

Manteo Investments is owned by Yusuf Surtee, a prominent business man who is well known in the IT, financial and public sector and who has a long association with Atos Origin dating back to 1999.

“I have made good experience with Atos Origin in the more than 10 years I have worked with the company,” said Manteo Investments’ Yusuf Surtee.

“Atos Origin has a strong local management and has proven to be a reliable partner to South African and international companies, hence I am convinced they are well positioned to further expand.”

SAinfo reporter

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