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N°35  |  March   2009

A growing Bull offers solutions to get you through the crisis

D Lamouche

Accelerating growth in revenues during the fourth quarter (up by 5.6%) and a higher operating profit than anticipated made 2008 a good year for Bull. These results reflect the now-tangible effects of the Group’s transformation, with a marked rise in the strength of our services business up by 14.7%, (representing 44% of turnover against 25% in 2005), 5.6% growth in our hardware & systems solutions with substantial gains in market share in large-scale systems, computer simulation and secure storage. The result is that Bull has recorded growth in revenues for 2008 – with 55% of turnover coming from sectors that are somewhat less vulnerable to the current crisis – a 66% leap in operating profit and net profit up by 21.7%. In addition, we are moving into 2009 with a good order book, no banking debt and net cash at a historically high level of over €300 million, a fundamental advantage in these times of financial crisis.  

Our confidence in the robustness of our business model means we are still planning to recruit 400-500 staff in 2009 (compared with 1,000 in 2008). In terms of keeping our skills up to date, 45% of our people who work for the company today have joined us over the course of less than four years. Our fundamentals, combined with this rejuvenation, our change in culture and skill-base mean we can face the future relatively calmly.  

And we are going on the offensive. Information technology is the key engine for growth and innovation not only in the digital economy but also for every other sector of the economy, without exception. So in the weeks ahead we will be launching a number of innovative, off-the-shelf solutions offering those customers who adopt them very rapid returns on investment: an excellent springboard for getting out of the current crisis.
When it comes to taking action at State level, we have also put forward some realistic suggestions for re-launching the economy. We are proposing to governments not that they should be spending more, but they should spend more wisely, for example by including an added-value clause in European public tenders, as is the case on other continents. In addition to quality, performance and price criteria, purchasers would therefore be invited to take into account the contribution the provider makes to the European ecosystem. By reaffirming the convergence of EU member states’ interests, this clause would put a stop to the inopportune debate on relocation of jobs within Europe. Finally the last, and by no means the least, advantage is that there would be no increase in government spending, while at the same time working in the best interests of our businesses and fellow citizens.

We believe profoundly that the reconstruction of a vigorous and healthy economy is everyone’s concern. Our businesses have rights, but they also have responsibilities. So putting forward new ideas and innovation to support our customers are among our key priorities.

I would like to thank you all for the continued confidence you have shown in Bull and its teams.

Didier Lamouche
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

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