|Traded as||Euronext: ATO|
|Industry||IT services, IT consulting|
|Key people||Thierry Breton
(Chairman & CEO)
|Services||Information Technology (Consulting, Systems Integration, Managed Services), business consulting, outsourcing (such as healthcare)|
|Revenue||€8.844 billion (2012)|
|Operating income||€ 381 million (2012)|
|Net income||€ 224 million (2012)|
|Total assets||€7.447 billion (2012)|
|Total equity||€2.379 billion (2012)|
Atos SE is a French multinational IT services corporation headquartered in Bezons, France, that provides hi-tech transactional services, consulting and technology services, systems integration and managed services. Atos also receives contracts for outsourced public services from some governments, such as the United Kingdom. Atos operates under the brands Atos, Atos Consulting & Technology Services, Worldline and Atos Worldgrid.
Atos is at the centre of controversy in the United Kingdom over the management won in contracts by their healthcare division of the widely derided Work Capability Assessment for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), particularly for its role in implementing the DWP's criteria for the treatment of disabled people. A good deal of the criticism from claimants over the last few years was directed at the way Atos staff dealt with them personally, on a human level. The DWP negotiated an early exit from the existing WCA contract with Atos, after raising concerns about the quality of its work.
The company was formed in 1997 through a merger of two French IT companies; and combined with the Dutch-based company Origin B.V. in 2000 to become Atos Origin. It subsequently acquired KPMG Consulting in 2002 and SchlumbergerSema in 2004.
In 1996, Origin B.V. was created after a merger of the Dutch company BSO and the Philips C&P (Communications & Processing) division, while a year later in 1997, Atos was created following a merger of the French companies Axime and Sligos. In 2001, Atos Origin sold its Nordic operations to WM-data. In 2002, it made a major acquisition by buying KPMG Consulting in the United Kingdom and in the Netherlands. Then in 2004, it acquired SchlumbergerSema, the IT service division of Schlumberger and took over the infrastructure division of ITELLIUM, a subsidiary of KarstadtQuelle.
At the same time (2004), the company created a new subsidiary, Atos Worldline, and the renaming of its consulting activities as Atos Consulting. Also in 2004, Atos Origin Australia, originating from Philips, was sold to Fujitsu. In 2005, Atos Origin sold its activities in the Nordic region, which had become part of the company with the acquisition of Sema Group, to WM-data while in 2006, Atos Origin sold its operations in the Middle East to local management.
In October 2007, Philippe Germond replaced longtime CEO Bernard Bourigeaud. Two shareholders, the hedge funds Centaurus Capital and Pardus Capital, tried to gain control over the company via the supervisory board. In November 2008, the boardroom battle came to an end when Thierry Breton replaced Philippe Germond as chairman and CEO.
In August 2010 Atos Origin acquired Indian payment company Venture Infotek. In December 2010 Atos Origin agreed to acquire the IT Solutions and Services subsidiary of Siemens for €850 million. As part of the transaction, Siemens agreed to take a 15% stake in the enlarged Atos, to be held for a minimum of five years.
The company dropped the "Origin" suffix of its name in July 2011 after completing its acquisition of the Siemens unit.
In November 2011 Atos and software services provider Ufida International Holdings formed the joint venture Yunano. The two companies invested EUR 5.7million. Atos has 70 percent and UFIDA has 30 percent. The joint venture has its HQ in Bezons, France, a suburb of Paris. In 2012 Atos announced the creation of a new company called Canopy. The CEO is Jacques Pommeraud. In 2011 Atos introduced a Zero Email initiative, banning email as a form of internal communications, except for use with customers and prospects. As part of the intitiative, Atos acquired the French software company blueKiwi in early 2012, rolling out their ZEN social networking software across its organisation.
According to a National Audit Office report on the government's four biggest suppliers, Atos earned £700 million in revenue from the public sector in the UK in 2012; of £7.2bn sales worldwide. Atos has been dogged by allegations of bad practice in recent years yet has continued to win massive contracts from the UK government. Atos holds £3bn worth of UK government contracts providing services to a wide range of organizations including:
- A £300m (Atos Origin Alliance (AOA)) contract with NHS Scotland in November 2006. AOA (formally including BT) with Atos and Sopra is a 9-year deal with an option to extend for 3 years to an 11-year contract. Services delivered are directly to NHS National Services Scotland (NSS), a non-departmental public body (similar to Atos' EIS contract of non-departmental public bodies made up from SDS/SE/HIE and SCCRC) other that works to support Scotland’s health and frontline patient care by delivering essential national and regional services to NHSScotland, negotiated the national IT services contract with the Atos Origin Alliance.
- A £100m contract with the Home Office (a six-year deal ending in 2016)
- A £70 million contract with the Welsh Government to provide Information and Communications Technology (ICT) services
- A £25m contract with the Ministry of Defence to provide defence communications services
- A 5-year £75 million deal with the National Health Service to provide an integrated IT desktop service
- A £140 million deal for IT provision at the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
- A multimillion outsourcing contract to NS&I to deliver customer-facing and back office services to NS&I’s 25 million customers. The final decision on awarding the contract lay with NS&I’s Minister, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Sajid Javid MP. Given the size of the contract the Cabinet Office was also involved throughout the tender process and has given full approval to the decision.
In 2012, Atos, who operate the IT system for the Home Office, was responsible for the "great computer freeze" of the UKBA which left hundreds of people queuing at the UK Border Agency offices in Croydon when the system broke down and caused chaos at Heathrow Airport.
The involvement of Atos in government benefit contracts dates back to 1998. The Welfare Reform Act 2007 introduced Work Capability Assessments (WCAs) to determine who should receive Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Decisions are taken by officials at the DWP using evidence from the assessments, carried out by the Atos subsidiary Atos Healthcare. Following the implementation of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 ESA claimants have been subject to rigorous WCAs to determine their level of disability and ability to work. Atos has received extensive allegations of severe distress and also widespread deaths amongst those assessed. MPs, the clergy and leading charities have demanded the assessment be withdrawn. According to the Financial Times, Atos staff have received death threats as a result of its assessments. On 21 February 2014, Atos confirmed that it is seeking an early exit from its £500 million WCA contract with the DWP. Its departure was announced in March 2014 with a replacement contractor to be appointed in early 2015. Facing questioning by the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, Atos senior vice president Lisa Coleman conceded an inability to make a sufficient profit was a factor in the firm's decision to withdraw from the contract, for which it has had to pay compensation.
Atos was also awarded a contract in 2013 to carry out tests for the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for disabled people, with the aim of reducing the projected cost of the benefit by 20 per cent by 2015-16. PIP replaces the Disability Living Allowance and determines whether people are entitled to extra money to help cope with disability – such as cars, equipment or nursing. Atos's £400m PIP contracts over five years cover the southeast and north of the UK, accounting for about 75 per cent of disability living allowance claimants. Capita, a rival outsourcing company, has the remainder.
The total value of contracts that had been awarded to Atos by June 2013 was approximately £1.6bn. It was disclosed in November 2013 through the National Audit Office that Atos paid no Corporation Tax at all in the UK in 2012.
In 2004, the BBC contracted out its former BBC Technology division to the German engineering and electronics company Siemens IT Solutions and Services (SIS), outsourcing its IT, telephony and broadcast technology systems. When Atos Origin acquired the SIS division from Siemens in December 2010 for €850 million (£720m), the BBC support contract also passed to Atos, and in July 2011, the BBC announced to staff that its technology support would become an Atos service. Siemens staff working on the BBC contract were transferred to Atos and BBC technology systems (including the BBC website) are now managed by Atos. In 2011 the BBC's Chief Financial Officer Zarin Patel stated to the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee that, following criticism of the BBC's management of major IT projects with Siemens (such as the Digital Media Initiative), the BBC partnership with Atos would be instrumental in achieving cost savings of around £64 million as part of the BBC's "Delivering Quality First" programme. In 2012, the BBC's Chief Technology Officer, John Linwood, expressed confidence in service improvements to the BBC's technology provision brought about by Atos. He also stated that supplier accountability had been strengthened following some high-profile technology failures which had taken place during the partnership with Siemens. In February 2014 the BBC announced the intention to extend its contract with Atos for a further two years as part of transitioning to new supply arrangements involving multiple suppliers. The Atos contract is now expected to run until 2017 instead of 2015 as planned at present.
Manchester "Oyster Card" Scheme
In 2012, Atos won a seven-year contract to implement Manchester’s planned "Oyster Card" public transport scheme to manage a planned electronic smart card ticketing scheme on behalf of Transport for Greater Manchester, the region’s public transport agency. The company says the cards will be available to use on trams within two years, before being further rolled out to cover buses and trains in the region.
Atos has been the official IT Partner for the Olympic Games since 2001 and is expected to continue until at least 2020. Atos, through the SchlumbergerSema's acquisition, was involved in previous Games during the 1990s, starting with the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992. Atos has been one of 11 major sponsors for the Olympic Games since 2001.
In 2011, some UK-based disability campaign groups called for a boycott of the 2012 Summer Paralympics due to Atos' sponsorship of the games and Atos Healthcare's UK contract to perform Work Capability Assessments on behalf of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) During the first week of the Paralympics in the summer of 2012, activists and disabled people targeted Atos in a series of nationwide protests. This culminated on Friday 31 August with a demonstration outside Atos headquarters in London, which ended in a confrontation with the police.
Through the International Olympic Committee's TOP (The Olympic Partner) programme, Atos has sponsored athletes from all over the globe in order to support their Olympic ambitions, including Danny Crates, the 2004 Paralympic Champion in the 800m.
2014 Commonwealth Games
Atos have been named as an Official Supporter of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. On 26 June 2013, "Glasgow Against Atos" occupied one of the Commonwealth Games venues in protest against Atos sponsorship.
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- International IT Company Atos Become Official Supporter of Glasgow 2014
- Chris Hoy Velodrome Occupied Games Monitor 2014
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