Sema Group looks set to make its planned push into US markets in the near future following strong annual figures.
The European services giant revealed to ?VNU Newswire? last summer that it planned to go on an acquisition spree in the US, following a restructuring that removed legal barriers to an American move (see Newswire 15 July 1997). Now analysts believe it is poised to strike in the next few months.
Sales at Sema broke the #1 billion barrier for the first time in the year ended 31 December, growing 22 per cent to #1.13 billion ($1.85 billion). Pre-tax profits were up 28 per cent to #64.1 million ($104.94 million).
Key growth markets are currently the UK and the Netherlands, said analysts, and the healthy services market, coupled with Sema?s restructuring last summer, make 1998 an ideal time for expansion.
Other strong growth markets were France, Spain, Belgium and south east Asia.
Sema was formerly prevented from acquiring US companies because it was classed as a bank, thanks to French financial group Paribas holding a controlling stake. The restructuring shifted the balance of ownership to get round that obstacle and Sema will now be targeting its arch rival, fellow European services company Cap Gemini, whose Gemini consulting arm is a strong brand in the US.
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