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By | Kelly Fiveash 28th March 2008 12:05

Snubbed shareholders slam Atos Origin

Rebels demand boardroom sitdown

Atos Origin’s main shareholders have reacted angrily to the firm’s decision to block them from joining its supervisory board.

UK-based Centaurus Capital IP and US-based Pardus Capital Management IP, which together hold 21.67 per cent of the French IT services company, have written a letter criticising Atos bosses following the publication of board draft resolutions (pdf) for its AGM.

The rebel shareholders also vowed yesterday to fight the firm’s refusal to grant them representation on the board, all of which could lead to a messy, public spat on 22 May when the annual company get-together takes place.

Centaurus and Pardus said in a joint statement: "We have lost faith in the management and supervisory boards which have refused to examine thoroughly all available strategic options, including the pursuit of serious discussions with interested strategic parties."

In another show of defiance, plans are also afoot for the shareholders to submit two of their own candidates for the supervisory board, despite fierce opposition from Atos management.

Atos had been in talks with potential buyers last year before cutting loose and deciding to go it alone, much to the chagrin of Centaurus and Pardus, both of whom had called for the firm to seek tie-ups with other companies.

The firm dragged its bottom line back into the black last year following a painful restructuring process in 2006. However, the consulting arm of its biz has been limping along with revenue in that sector dropping more than 11 per cent in 2007. ®

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