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March 29, 2005

Altran summoned to court hearing

French IT services provider Altran Technologies has been summoned to a court hearing on April 6, which could lead to further investigations into alleged financial irregularities in its 2001 and 2002 accounts.

By CBR Staff Writer

The Paris-based company said that the hearing would concern the company, its chairman Alexis Kniazeff, and three former senior executives: Michel Friedlander, Jean-Michel Martin and Hubert Martigny, who have been forbidden from contacting Altran employees,

In July 2004, a formal investigation into Altran’s full year 2001 and 2002 accounts was launched, which resulted in Kniazeff, Friedlander and Martigny being taken into police custody, before being released without charge. The company’s turmoil continued the following month when it issued a profit warning, which led to its share value falling by over a third in one day.

Altran has been struggling since its ill-timed acquisition of the two largest practices of bankrupt management consultancy Arthur D Little in April 2002, but there are signs that it is recovering.

In February it announced sales for the full year 2004 up 6% to 1.42bn euros ($1.83bn). It has not yet released profit figures for 2004, but it has claimed that operating profit for the second half of the year was 25% up on the first half.

Its shares have also steadily recovered since its profit warning, and in December 2004 it negotiated bank credit facilities of 150m euros ($194m) from BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole Ile de France and Societe Generale. Last week Christophe Aulnette, who was chairman and CEO of Microsoft France, began work as CEO having been appointed in January.

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