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February 28, 1994

GOOD YEAR-END FIGURES FROM SEMA GROUP ARE SPICED UP BY THE POSSIBILITY THAT CAP GEMINI WILL DIVEST ITS 28% STAKE

By CBR Staff Writer

Anglo-French computer services group Sema Group Plc’s year-end results were positive, as the firm’s continuing good fortune brought higher profits, turnover and cash reserves. Sema’s net profit rose by 29.7% to UKP17.9m while its turnover grew 20.4% to UKP502m. The firm’s profit before tax increased by 27.6% to UKP24.9m. Sema re-emphasised its commitment to facilities management, which wasn’t surprising given that its turnover from this activity rocketed upwards by 64.7% to UKP98.3m, while turnover from software products shrunk 7% to UKP36.1m. Sema Group also managed to expand its cash reserves by 230.9% to UKP18.2m, even after the acquisitions and start-ups that it managed to make over the year. In an acquisition-hungry mood, it bought the previously state-owned Swedish SKDforetagen AB company, and facilities management operations in Germany and South Africa in the year. Contributions for three months from the Swedish firm show turnover of UKP23.4m, with a profit before tax of UKP1.3m. Figures adjusted to make exchange rates constant show that the German operation has grown the most at 25.9% to UKP41.3m, mostly due to the golden egg laid by the facilities management goose. The Spanish recession has seen turnover slip by 11.2% to UKP25.3m, while the Benelux countries, the only other region to see shrinkage in turnover, contracted by 14.3% to UKP25.1m. Sema, which has won contracts including administration for the French Bi-Bop mobile telephone system and the reservation administration system for the 1994 soccer World Cup, is concentrating on consolidating key market sectors where it already has a presence. The firm’s involvement in defence does not seem to have suffered as a result of post Cold War political global warming, and turnover here still grew by 28.4%. Involvement in energy contracts has increased turnover here by 57.6% and indeed the company’s revenue from every sector bar industry has grown – the last fell by 3.2%. It especially wants to grow in telecomunications, where it has the least presence. Sema’s bouyancy saw it raise the dividend by 10.7% to 3.1p. Meanwhile all eyes are on unwanted shareholder Cap Gemini Sogeti SA, which still holds 28% of the firm’s equity. In financial difficulties, (the firm’s net loss increased in 1993 to over $60m from $36m in 1992), Cap Gemini could be persuaded to sell its stake – a prospect Sema views with positive glee.

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