The French state will be part of the revival of Atos, the cyber security company for Paris 2024. GETTY IMAGES

A €50 million loan. That is how the French government is trying to help Atos, its data partner and the company in charge of the cyber security of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, to get out of debt. Atos wants to ensure that its financial problems do not affect the Games and is seeking funding to keep itself afloat.

The French government has come to the rescue of Atos, its data partner and cybersecurity provider for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. And this rescue includes a loan of €50 million.

For its part, Atos has insisted that its financial problems will not affect its operations during the Games. It has been the IT partner for the Games since 2002. This year, Atos is managing more than 300,000 accreditations for the events. It also provides cybersecurity for data and technology systems and has around 300 employees. 

The Olympics are the subject of much concern as they are expected to be the target of cyber attacks. French President Emmanuel Macron himself said this month that Russia was trying to undermine the Paris Games through a disinformation campaign. There is enormous concern about technology and potential cyber-attacks for this and many other reasons.

Bruno Le Maire, French Finance Minister GETTY IMAGES
Bruno Le Maire, French Finance Minister GETTY IMAGES

The French loan to Atos, reported by AFP, is part of a €450 million emergency package unveiled on Tuesday to keep the company afloat while it tries to raise €1.2 billion in fresh capital by July. This is one of the priorities. 

As reported by Marketscreener, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told Les Echos newspaper last Tuesday that "the French state will be there to support Atos' activities and the tens of thousands of jobs that the troubled IT services group employs."  

In return, the finance ministry will receive a "preferential share" that will give it oversight of Atos' critical "big data" operations for the French state, such as the supercomputers that run its nuclear deterrent arsenal and other military contracts. This is part of the agreement between the two parties. 

Atos continues its plan to achieve viability. GETTY IMAGES
Atos continues its plan to achieve viability. GETTY IMAGES

Atos has accumulated a debt of almost €5 billion. €3.65 billion of these are bonds and loans that must be repaid or refinanced by the end of next year. There is a great sense of urgency. In addition, Atos' situation has worsened in recent weeks after it failed to reach agreements on the sale of two subsidiaries. 

This fuelled speculation that if an agreement could not be reached with its creditors, the group would have to be broken up. All of this created uncertainty and doubt, leading to a fall in Atos' share price on the Paris stock exchange since last July. 

On Monday, however, the shares jumped by almost 20 percent after the investment fund Butler Industries announced that it would support the capital increase alongside Onepoint, Atos' largest shareholder. Now, the French government's announcement could also help boost confidence. 

Atos ensures its problems will not affect Paris 2024. GETTY IMAGES
Atos ensures its problems will not affect Paris 2024. GETTY IMAGES

Atos has set a deadline of 26 April for new financing proposals from existing shareholders and third parties. The aim is to return to positive cash flow by 2026. According to the parameters of the refinancing framework presented by Atos and reported by Cadena COPE, 

Atos has approximately €600 million in cash to finance its business until 2024-25. The future strategy is to provide these funds in the form of debt and/or equity from existing stakeholders or external investors, as the company acknowledges. 

A further €600 million in credit facilities will also be sought, the multinational said. This entire strategy was already known after Atos announced a few weeks ago that it would try to reach an amicable agreement with its creditors. However, everything hinges on the securing of liquidity that will allow the company to continue its operations and achieve its objectives.