Canada’s CGI Looks at Acquisitions in U.S., Germany and U.K.
(Bloomberg) -- Canada’s CGI Inc., looking to double its size in part with acquisitions, would consider deals in countries including the U.S., Germany, and the U.K., the company’s chief financial officer said.
Bond sales can help it fund those purchases, said CFO Francois Boulanger in a video interview this week. The information technology consulting firm sold its first public bonds this month, borrowing in U.S. and Canadian dollars to refinance debt.
“We wanted to have another tool in our tool set,” Boulanger said. “We have pretty large acquisitions that we are targeting in the future.”
The company would consider borrowing in euros and selling sustainable bonds to fuel possible acquisitions, he said. Euros account for a substantial portion of the cash that CGI generates, Boulanger said, so borrowing in that currency would be a “natural development.”
CGI has made almost 90 acquisitions since going public in 1986. Its last major purchase was in 2012, when it bought the U.K.’s Logica for the equivalent at the time of C$2.8 billion. That was the last time the company needed what Boulanger called “some intense capital.”
One reason the company hasn’t had to borrow in public markets until recently is that it generates about C$2 billion of cash per year, of which around C$400 million is reinvested, Boulanger said. The company’s aim to double over the next five to seven years will probably happen through a mix of organic growth and acquisitions, he said.
CGI, whose document handling system is used by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, sold $1 billion of five- and 10-year U.S. dollar denominated bonds on Sept. 9. Last week it raised another C$600 million ($474 million) by selling 7-year bonds in its home bond market.
The proceeds of the bonds repaid a bank loan raised at the start of the pandemic and are refinancing some privately placed U.S. dollar securities. While the company has now tested the public debt markets it may still continue using the private placement market, he said.
CGI, which operates in around 400 cities around the world, is looking to boost its commercial information technology consulting business in the U.S., where it has already an strong track record advising federal and state governments, he said. The firm is also looking to grow in industries such as health and cybersecurity.
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