Cap Gemini Sogeti stake up for sale

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THE FRENCH holding company CGIP is to sell its 9 per cent direct stake in Cap Gemini Sogeti. CGS, Europe's largest supplier of computer services, has controlled Hoskyns, the British software and services house, since 1990, writes Mary Fagan.

Ernest-Antoine Selliere, CGIP's chairman, said the company planned to raise up to Fr400m ( pounds 48m) soon through disposals. The sales may include property interests in the Netherlands as well as the company's remaining 1.6 per cent stake in Valeo, a supplier of automotive equipment, as well as the CGS stake.

CGIP wants to sell non-strategic assets to rebuild its cash balance after buying another 7 per cent stake in Carnaud Metalbox. CGIP's holdings in Cap Gemini and Valeo are together worth about Fr900m.

CGIP has direct interests in CGS's parent, Sogeti, and in Sogeti's parent, SKIP. Through these holdings CGIP indirectly and directly controls 20 per cent of CGS. Other large shareholders in the software group include Daimler-Benz.

Earlier this week CGIP reported a drop in net profit last year from Fr672m to Fr542m. The group attributed the fall largely to reduced contributions from Sogeti.

Sale of the stake in CGS is likely to attract interest throughout the computer industry as software and services are among the fastest-growing sectors. Companies such as CGS have been specialists in the area but are now being contested by hardware manufacturers such as IBM.

Although CGS made a loss in 1992 of almost Fr80m its share price has jumped by almost 50 per cent since early February.