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Tue 23 Oct 2007 03:43 PM

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HP buys Atos Origin Middle East

UPDATE: None of firm's 450-500 staff likely to lose jobs as a result of takeover, AOME CEO tells ITP.net.

Regional systems integrator Atos Origin Middle East (AOME) has said it does not expect any layoffs to occur as a result of its takeover by HP.

The technology giant announced yesterday it has agreed to acquire Atos Origin Middle East group (AOME) for an undisclosed sum.

"I don't expect any layoffs or downsizing," Ferras Zalt, CEO at AOME told ITP.net. "On the contrary we have huge openings now for all our projects, so we have been on a hiring spree since January."

Bahrain-headquartered AOME, the largest systems integrator in the Middle East, employs between 450 and 500 people in the region primarily in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, Qatar and Libya.

After the acquisition goes through, slated for November, the company will be integrated into HP and the brand Atos Origin Middle East will be gradually phased out, said Zalt, who will move to the role of director of services for the region as a result of the acquisition.

Commenting on the takeover, Zalt said it was a natural progression from AOME's previous collaborations with HP.

"We are faced with the fact that for us to win and execute large projects, we need a global support from somebody like HP and we need financial strength from a company," he said.

AOME was formed in 2006 after French information technology services group Atos Origin divested its Middle East operation to local management.

The largest systems integrator in the Middle East with revenue forecast to be in the region of $130 million for 2007, AOME primarily operates in the oil and gas, telecom and security sectors. Its clients include Saudi Aramco, Qatar E-Government, STC, Batelco and Emirates Airlines.

Other suitors approached AOME, Zalt revealed to ITP.net, although he declined to disclose names.

In a statement, HP said the purchase would boost its business in SAP capabilities in the Middle East, strengthen its expertise in the public sector and in oil and gas, and expand its presence to Libya and Qatar.

"The Middle East is one of our fastest growing markets and this acquisition expands our ability to better service the needs of our customers," said Ken Willett, vice president and managing director, Middle East, Mediterranean and Africa at HP.

"In addition, AOME's proven ability to design, deploy and support large-scale enterprise resource planning systems based on SAP will help us capitalize on this fast-growing market," he added.

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