Major French Tech Company's CEO Fears Effects of Hard Brexit

(Bloomberg) -- Capgemini SE Chief Executive Officer Paul Hermelin is predicting a hard Brexit will cause a knock-on effect to its British clients, potentially weakening demand.

“That’s most probable, so it may soften or weaken the demand in the U.K., or in some sectors that export to the U.K.," Hermelin said in an interview with Bloomberg Television Friday. "The hard Brexit possibility -- I hope it won’t happen -- will have an indirect impact.”

The tone from Capgemini’s CEO is a shift from the early days following the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union. Hermelin said in 2016 he didn’t see any material impact from Brexit. In 2017 he added that slow performance in the U.K. could not be blamed on Brexit.

The Paris-based consulting and technology group, with a market value of 19.4 billion euros ($22.6 billion), has been focusing on cloud services, cybersecurity and data analytics. Following its $4.4 billion acquisition of Igate Corp. in 2015, it’s been penning a number of bolt-on deals in the U.S.

Hermelin said he expects to announce a few small digital acquisitions in Europe and the U.S. Capgemini on Thursday also reported revenue of 6.47 billion euros for the first half that met average analyst estimates.

Capgemini shares were down 3.7 percent to 112.80 euros at 9:56 a.m. in Paris Friday.

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