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Sema buys Italian telecoms company

SEMA GROUP, the Anglo-French system integration firm, yesterday paid an estimated pounds 20m cash to acquire Italian technology company DS Telematica.

But Sema, which, after a brief listing fell out of the FTSE 100, had nothing new to report about a mooted $1bn (pounds 625m) war chest to make acquisitions in the US technology sector. A spokeswoman said the company was continuing to explore US opportunities.

Sema said the acquisition of DS Telematica would have a positive impact on current year earnings but declined to be more specific.

The Italian firm provides telecoms products and systems integration, and includes among its clients Telecom Italia and Spain's Retevision.

DS Telematica is profitable, Sema said without giving details, and recorded 1998 sales of pounds 14.7m with net assets of pounds 2.2m. Sema said the Italian company is expected to deliver 60 per cent annual turnover growth.

The acquisition is to boost Sema's systems integration revenues by focusing on the high-growth telecoms sector. About 20% of Sema's pounds 1.25bn annual turnover is derived from telecoms customers. Around 80 per cent of DS Telematica's sales are in Italy compared with only a fraction of Sema's sales.

Sema stock closed up 5p at 601p.