Bull Blames Late Revenue Downturn on Y2K Fears

Groupe Bull SA said today that, despite a downturn in revenue of 5.9 percent in the final quarter of last year, preliminary results showed revenue for the year 1999 up 1.7 percent overall.

Revenue for the year was expected to be 3.769 billion euros. The total for the previous year, adjusted for the sale of the company's Nipson printers and payment terminals business, was 3.705 billion euros. But fourth-quarter revenue was expected to show a fall from 1.275 billion euros to 1.2 billion euros.

One reason for the financial year ending not with a bang but with a whimper was that customers had delayed investments until the new year, fearing the impact of the year 2000 changeover, according to Jean-Jacques Roulmann, spokesman for Bull in Paris. "This isn't unique to Bull," he said.

The preliminary results also include a provision for asset depreciation of around 280 million euros for Bull's stake in Packard Bell NEC U.S., which closed most operations at the end of 1999. However, the European arm of the joint venture was doing well, in particular with sales of Windows NT systems, said Roulmann.

The company will release final figures on Feb. 10, 2000.

Earlier this week, Bull announced it would act as a worldwide integrator and consulting partner for Siebel Systems Inc. customer relationship management (CRM) systems. Some 50 percent of Bull's revenue already comes from services.

Groupe Bull can be reached at +33-1-39-66-60-60. The Paris-based company can also be found at http://www.bull.com or http://www.bull.fr.

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