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Fujitsu: We're not blacklisted by gov, but we want private work

Grey men of Whitehall confirm there's no black list

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Fujitsu’s UK CEO says the company is continuing to bid for UK public sector contracts, but the share of its business coming from the public purse will continue to decline over the next few years.

Duncan Tait said the firm had been rebalancing its UK business over the last two years to boost the amount of revenue it generates from the private sector.

Tait was speaking to The Register two months after the Financial Times claimed Fujitsu had been deemed “too high risk” to take on further government work and effectively placed on a “blacklist” of suppliers which would no longer be offered public sector contracts by Whitehall.

Tait said last week there was no blacklist with Fujitsu’s name on it, adding: “We continue to seek business in the public sector.”

He added that in the “meantime, we’re continuing to work closely with Francis Maude and his department” as it looks to drive efficiency in the public sector.

On the suggestion that Fujitsu was a “high risk” supplier, Tait said there were only two plausible reasons why a supplier would attract that label: bad service and financial risk.

On bad service, he said: “That’s not what our customers are telling us.” He said the feedback on its service for "most government departments is extremely positive".

As for financial risk, he said, the company had very low levels of debt and was profitable.

He added that there was a vast amount of public sector business beyond Whitehall, from local councils and authorities to the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assemblies, as well as the education sector. Any Whitehall blacklist - if it existed, which it doesn't - would not constrain Fujitsu in competing for business away from central government.

Nevertheless, Fujitsu’s UK business was in the process of rebalancing its business towards private sector business, he explained. A couple of years ago, public sector revenues accounted for 70 per cent of the IT giant's UK business. The balance now was 55/45 in favour of public sector he said.

The companies’ current three-year plan was for private sector business to account for 60 per cent of its revenues. “If we can do that over the next year, great,” Tait added.

The firm was currently seeing significant year-on-year growth, he said. The third quarter should be "decent" he said, while Q4 should be "pretty stellar".

Tait’s own background is in private rather than public sector IT. Before taking over the CEO post at Fujitsu's UK business, he had headed up the vendor’s private sector business.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said: "There is no 'blacklist' of suppliers and we will neither name nor shame companies. However, we are determined to drive even better value when we are spending taxpayers' money." ®

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