August 1, 2007 / 10:23 AM / 12 years ago

Bull says no takeover talks with HP

PARIS (Reuters) - French computer services company Bull BULP.PA said on Wednesday it was not in takeover talks with Hewlett-Packard (HPQ.N) and had not received an offer from the U.S. computer and printer maker.

The company also kept its financial goals for 2007 after returning to operating profitability in the first half.

“There are no ongoing negotiations, and we have not received a formal offer,” Bull Chief Executive Didier Lamouche told a conference call when asked about Hewlett-Packard.”

“But I am rather flattered that rumors associate Bull with the market leader,” he added.

Lamouche’s comments sent Bull shares down more than 8 percent to 5.38 euros by 1018 GMT.

Bull, which has been linked to France’s GFI Informatique GFIP.PA and is fighting a hostile bid from Japan’s Fujitsu (6702.T), said it wanted to play a role in the consolidation of the sector, however.

Shares in Bull had risen over 10 percent on July 26 after an online report by French weekly magazine said HP was preparing a 720 million euro bid.

“The sector is in a consolidation phase, and we want to be one of its main players,” Lamounche said on Wednesday, adding he was still monitoring the GFI Informatique dossier.

In June, Bull had said it did not rule out linking up with another company to speed up its development. GFI said last month it was holding exploratory talks about an alliance with Bull.

Bull’s operating profit swung to 7.2 million euros ($9.9 million) in the first six months of 2007 from a loss of 2.8 million last year.

The company confirmed its 2007 target range of 20 million to 24 million euros for earnings before interest and tax, non operating, non-recurring items and contributions from equity affiliates.

Its half-year earnings before interest and tax on the same basis rose to 9.5 million euros from 9.3 million last year.

additional reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten and Dominique Vidalon

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