French IT services company, Groupe Ares has begun the bookbuilding process for an initial public offering followed by a listing on the Paris Bourse’s Second Marche on March 4. The Paris-based group expects to report revenues of 254m euros ($288m) in the current fiscal year, which ends on March 31, a performance that, if confirmed, will represent an increase of 34% on the previous 12 months. Bookbuilding began on February 8 and will continue until February 26, when the final price for the shares on offer will be announced. The range for the process is 16-18 euros ($18.16-$20.42), with 420,000 new shares plus 101,700 existing ones going up for sale in the IPO. The company said that, after it completes the offering, it will have approximately 20% of its capital on the stock market, with the founders retaining 38% and original financial partners – venture capitalist 3i, SNVB and the bank Societe Generale – 42%. The company, which is a leading integrator for Unix environments says it plans to use the 6.7m-7.5m ($7.6m-$8.5m) raised by the operation to finance strategic growth projects. These which include acquisitions to expand its networking services from the current 12.5% of revenues to 25% by the year 2002, according to CEO Maurice Bourlier.