* Confirms 2008 targets
* Aims to get 80 percent of turnover from abroad by 2011
* Sees at least 10 percent growth in turnover in 2009
PARIS, Sept 30 Business & Decision BDZK.PA,
the French consulting firm, said that it aimed to get 80 percent
of its turnover from abroad by 2011 and confirmed its 2008
targets subject to market conditions.
International growth is a priority for the group, Patrick
Bensabat, chairman of Business & Decision, told Reuters in an
interview on Tuesday.
"We hope our international investments will allow us to
increase turnover significantly and simultaneously increase
profitability too," said Bensabat. He added that the business
model justified an increase in size.
Since the company was created in 1992 by Bensabat, it has
made numerous acquisitions including, most recently, the U.S.
company Inforte and Moscow-based Decision Support Systems.
Turnover increased 42 percent from 142.8 million euros ($204
million) in 2006 to 202 million euros ($289 million) in 2007 and
Bensabat confirmed a 2008 turnover target of between 240 and 250
million euros ($344 to $358 million), an increase of 20 to 25
Bensabat said there was no exact forecast because of market
conditions. Moreover, the company was still experiencing some
problems within key overseas markets, the United States,
Britain, and Germany, he said.
"In Germany and Switzerland we have had to make large
investments which are affecting our profitability, while the
integration of Inforte in the U.S. is difficult given the
Business & Decision issued a profit warning in August,
lowering the operating margin to 2 to 2.5 percent for the first
half of 2008 compared to 9.8 percent for the first half of 2007.
At the time, Bensabat attributed lower profits to the
company's international acquisitions. However he insisted on
Tuesday that the forecast was positive despite a weak
environment and added that turnover should grow by at least 10
to 15 percent in 2009.
The share price has fallen by 82 percent this year and
Bensabat, whose family owns 37.2 percent of the capital said
that Business & Decision had already initiated a share buyback
programme. Moreover he said an eventual exit from the stock
market was unlikely.
Business & Decision had a market capitalisation of 38.9
million euros at Monday's closing price of 4.45 euros.
"We are looking at different scenarios but I don't believe
we will exit the stock market completely." He said.
(Reporting by Vanessa Walters and Baptiste Cordier, Editing by