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Atos likely needs more cash and additional debt reduction to stay afloat. The ailing French IT consultancy firm reported this today after a review of its 2024-2027 business plan. This will likely necessitate a thorough revision of the restructuring plan presented earlier this month, which was already designed to turn the dismal tide.

Atos is extending the deadline for refinancing proposals from existing stakeholders and outside investors to May 3, Reuters reports. The original deadline was tomorrow, April 26. “We will review those proposals with our financial creditors and agree on an appropriate path forward. Our goal remains to agree on a refinancing solution by this coming July”, CEO Paul Saleh said in a statement.

Atos is in the midst of a major debt restructuring and needs to pull 1.2 billion euros out of the hat by issuing new shares and taking out new loans to meet existing payment obligations. Bad news for existing shareholders, who see their stake in the company diluted. Earlier attempts to raise money by selling business units came to nothing.

Halving existing debt

The current restructuring plan provides for halving existing debt by 2026, which amounts to 2.4 billion euros in paid-off loans. Apparently, even more money is needed. The company previously hoped to extend the maturities of current debt by five years. This is no unnecessary luxury since without such an extension, Atos would have to pay off 3.65 billion euros this year, the vast majority of its 4.7 billion euros of debt.

An attempt to sell Atos’s Tech Foundations division to Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky’s EP Equity Investment (EPEI) came to nothing, after which Atos shook up its board of directors. European aircraft maker Airbus SE also renounced a deal to take over the ailing company’s big data and cybersecurity business. Earlier this year, Yves Bernaert stepped down from his CEO role. The reason for this departure included a disagreement over restructuring the company.

Forward flight

A recent, small ray of hope was the news that French investment company Butler Industries promised to join a consortium with key Atos shareholder Onepoint to save the company. In a forward flight, Onepoint stated that it wants to transform Atos into the premier European platform for cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. What’s more, Atos should become Europe’s leading sovereign cloud operator.

It shows Atos’ great economic and socio-cultural importance to the French. The company’s data and security solutions not only serve France’s sizable nuclear industry but also play a major role in the run-up to this year’s Olympics, for which France is the host country. Apart from all the Atos woes, the physical security of this large-scale event is also causing headaches for the French government.

Also read: Airbus abandons acquisition of Atos unit, €1.8B dollar deal called off