Atos third-quarter revenue falls, keeps profit targets

PARIS (Reuters) - French IT-services company Atos said third-quarter revenue fell 1.8 percent on a like-for-like basis, hit by weak demand in Europe, though it kept its full-year profitability targets.

Atos, which derives the bulk of its revenue from Europe and the United States, is focused on cutting costs in a bid to offset the lacklustre spending environment and integrate businesses bought from Germany's Siemens in 2011.

Atos said quarterly revenue fell to 2.09 billion euros (1.77 billion pounds) from 2.13 billion in the year-ago period. It now expects full-year revenue to be "nearly stable" compared with 2012, after initially forecasting growth, though it stuck to its profitability and cash-flow targets.

"We are still in a wait-and-see environment," Deputy Chief Executive Gilles Grapinet told journalists on a conference call on Friday.

He said the group would see growth in 2014, thanks in part to UK public-sector contract work that had been pushed back from 2013.

For this year, Atos expects its operating margin to rise to 7.5 percent of revenue and aims to deliver cash flow above 350 million euros.

Grapinet declined to comment on the next steps for Atos' relatively high-margin payments unit, Worldline, which it carved out into a separate entity earlier this year and which is expected to seek merger opportunities.

The company will likely give more details at an investor day on November 15.

(Reporting by Lionel Laurent; Editing by James Regan)

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