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Facing challenges, the French technology giant Atos revealed on Monday that it requires more funding than initially anticipated to sustain its operations. It also expressed appreciation for a government proposal to acquire company divisions associated with national security. 

Atos, which manages supercomputers for France's nuclear deterrence, maintains contracts with the French army, and serves as the IT partner for the upcoming Paris Olympics, is struggling with nearly €5 billion euros in debt.

On Sunday, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire disclosed that he had dispatched a non-binding letter of intent expressing interest in acquiring Atos' "sovereign activities." This move aims to prevent these critical operations from falling into the hands of foreign entities.

“We will see what other players might want to participate, it will only be French groups in strategic sectors such as defence or aerospace," he added.

These activities encompass supercomputers, servers utilising artificial intelligence and quantum computing, as well as cybersecurity products. "The (Atos) group welcomes this letter of intent, which would protect the sovereign strategic imperatives of the French state," the company said on Monday.

French technology giants Atos are continuing to struggle. GETTY IMAGES
French technology giants Atos are continuing to struggle. GETTY IMAGES

Atos, who confirmed Paris 2024 will be unaffected, stated that the proposal assesses the value of these businesses to be between 700 million and one billion euros. Following Le Maire's announcement, shares in Atos surged by 14 percent when the Paris stock exchange opened. They have declined by 70 percent since the beginning of the year.

The company announced that it now requires €1.1 billion in cash "to support the business over the period of 2024-25", an increase from the previous estimate of €600 million. According to individuals familiar with the matter, Dassault Aviation, the French manufacturer of Rafale fighter jets, has previously shown interest in acquiring certain assets of Atos.

Thales, the French defense electronics group, could be another potential participant for the state to involve. The company, however, refrained from commenting, while Dassault did not respond. Atos has engaged in unsuccessful discussions with individuals and companies interested in purchasing some of its assets as part of its efforts to raise cash and reduce its debt burden. Among those involved in these talks were Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky and Airbus.