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UPDATE 2-France's Altran to buy U.S. group Aricent for $2 bln, shares slip
November 30, 2017 / 11:14 AM / 17 days ago

UPDATE 2-France's Altran to buy U.S. group Aricent for $2 bln, shares slip

* Deal creates group with revenue of almost 3 bln euros

* Company plans 750 million euro rights issue

* Shares slide on worries about rights issue, size of deal

* Company to hit 2020 goals two years early (Adds shares, analyst comments)

By Camille Raynaud and Alan Charlish

Nov 30 (Reuters) - French technology consultancy Altran is to buy U.S. design and engineering services firm Aricent in a 1.7 billion euro ($2.01 billion) deal.

Altran plans a 750 million euro rights issue to help to finance the purchase, which contributed to a sharp fall in the company’s shares on Thursday.

The acquisition of the California-based company from a group of investors led by KKR is the largest of a series of deals done by Altran and will create a group with revenue of almost 3 billion euros, Altran said on Thursday.

“The combination contains no overlap ... and they’re bringing us com (communication), technology systems, semiconductors, software and design,” Chief Executive Dominique Cerutti told reporters during a call.

The acquisition will give Altran access to a number of firms including Nokia, Qualcomm, AT&T and Vodafone, Cerutti added.

A Paris-based analyst and a London-based analyst both pointed to concerns regarding the rights issue and the size of the acquisition as factors driving the stock lower.

“The acquisition is being made at quite high multiples ... so perhaps there is a bit of cautiousness about the deal,” the Paris-based analyst said.

Altran’s shares were down 4.8 percent at 0949 GMT.

As a result of the deal, Altran expects to hit two years early its 2020 targets of over 3 billion euros in revenue with an EBIT margin of around 13 percent and free cash flow of 7 percent.

The company said the acquisition, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018, would be accretive to earnings per share from the first year and will generate 150 million euros of additional revenues. ($1 = 0.8456 euros)

Reporting by Alan Charlish and Camille Raynaud in Gdynia. Editing by Greg Mahlich and Jane Merriman

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