Bull, Partners Plan E-Commerce Services Company

A new electronic commerce services company headed by Groupe Bull SA is slated for launch in September.

Bull is teaming up with banking group Société Générale SA and Danzas AG, the Swiss freight subsidiary of Deutsche Post AG, to create a company called Operia, Félix Lévy, marketing director for the French IT company, said Friday "What we would like to do is to provide to our customers the complete technology for (online) merchandising, " said Lévy. "That includes management of the catalogue, intake, secure payment, transport, logistics, etc. ... we can provide him total global services in order for him to go very quickly on the market to sell his product on the Web."

Danzas will handle logistics, Société Générale will be responsible for securing payments and Bull will run the IT side of the operation and serve as "the boss," he added.

Operia will be launched with "some tens of millions francs" in start-up capital, Lévy said. The exact ownership structure has not been determined, he added, but "we would like to keep the majority of the stock for Bull, and the idea is that the management will be controlled by Bull."

The official launch announcement will be made in the second half of September, said Lévy, and the company will begin operations immediately afterward, marketing to a handful of French businesses.

"Our plan is to have around ten customers this year," he said. Long-range plans include expansion into the rest of Europe, he added.

Bull, in Louveciennes, France, can be reached at +33-1-39-66-60-60, or via the Web at http://www.bull.com/. Danzas, in Basel, Switzerland is at +41-61-274-74-74, or at http://www.danzas.com/. Société Générale, in Paris, is at +33-42-14-20-00, or at http://www.socgen.com/.

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