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GFI Informatique pulling out of UK, Northern Europe

Lack of critical mass

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GFI Informatique is moving ahead with its plan to offload its Northern European operations, the French services group said as it announced its 2004 results this week.

However, writing down goodwill on the Northern European operations has cost it dear, with a €29.8m charge for goodwill amortization putting a hole in its 2004 figures.

The group said last year that its Northern European operations, including the UK, Germany, Switzerland and Benelux, were “affected by their lack of critical mass in markets that remain under intense pressure” and it was looking to achieve “appropriate industrial and financial solutions for its subsidiaries in Northern Europe”.

It said this week that “divestments are under way” in Northern Europe. It had already said "contacts" had been made for the UK operation. Chief executive and chairman Jacques Tordjman, told ComputerWire the individual units are unlikely to be sold as a job lot, as their focus varied from country to country.

GFI’s turnover for 2004 was €517.9m, up from €500.1m the previous year. Net profit, before amortization of goodwill, was €2.7m down from €13.6m in 2003.

The €29.8m charge for goodwill amortization tipped it into a €27.2m net loss for the year, compared to a net profit after amortization of €1.5m the previous year.

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