Eric Matteucci Chairman of The Management Board SII : "We remain confident in the improved results of the group".
Web TV: Éric Matteucci, hello.
Éric Matteucci – SII Chairman: Hello.
Web TV: You are the Chairman of SII. We’re going to discuss the company’s figures for the first-half and the outlook. You also sit on the Engineering Advisory Board. How do you think the first-half has gone?
Éric Matteucci –SII Chairman: Look, I think it’s gone pretty well. Once again, both the French and international climates are offering opportunities for growth. Turnover increased by 7.8%, of which 7.4% was organic. And, we’re seeing growth in the French market again, with growth of 1.4% over the first-half.
Web TV: So, it’s possible to say that in your line of business, in your sector this year marks the beginning of the recovery?
Éric Matteucci – SII Chairman: Indeed, for the entire sector, both technology consulting and, I think more broadly speaking the IT Services sector, recovery has returned in 2015 –the latest Syntec figures show growth of around 2% I believe. And Syntec is also expecting an improvement on this growth in 2016, so we think that investment has taken off again, which will help us achieve growth across the board.
Web TV: Margins are actually down slightly. What is behind this decline, this downturn?
Éric Matteucci – SII Chairman: It’s partly down to the French side of the business, where investment is ahead of the rest of the market to be ready to meet needs. Those investments are both in tools as well as sales staffing to bring in new customers.
Web TV: Are there any sectors that are really standing out right now?
Éric Matteucci –SII Chairman: We’re seeing group-wide growth in all sectors, except for Telecoms. But otherwise, we’re seeing growth in Aerospace and Defence. We’re seeing growth in Energy. We’re seeing growth in the Financial sectors. There’s only Telecoms, which is one of our biggest markets in France, where we’re still slightly down, due to the shake-up in operators.
Web TV www.labourseetlavie.com: Is the telecom sector in a recovery phase?
Éric Matteucci – SII Chairman: Yes, we’re in a phase of investment for operators because fibre optic and 4G need to be rolled out very quickly, including with both French and European plans. There are white spot coverage areas and other issues to deal with. Today we are once again seeing investment in the telecoms sector.
Web TV www.labourseetlavie.com: Abroad, the group has just made a new acquisition in Germany. How is the German market right now?
Éric Matteucci – SII Chairman: Firstly it’s the biggest European market, so we absolutely cannot afford to ignore it. Furthermore, a lot of our customers are already operating in the market there, so they expect to have suppliers that can take care of their needs, not only in France, but in Germany as well. And for us, given our size in Germany, even if we’re starting to have considerable market share there, we wanted to both consolidate in terms of our size and expand our customer portfolio. So that’s what we’re doing with Cadcon, which has a presence not just in the Aerospace market, where we were already quite strong, but also in Automotive, Energy and Healthcare.
Web TV: Healthcare is a sector that we’re hearing about more and more these days. Is this a high-potential sector?
Éric Matteucci – SII Chairman: It’s certainly a sector in which technology plays an increasingly important role, with various issues of remote medicine, healthcare and allowing people to stay in their own homes. There are real issues for which I think technology could provide answers.
Web TV: Customers are undergoing major changes, but companies like yours are as well. How do you adapt to such changes?
Éric Matteucci – SII Chairman: Yes, we definitely have to keep up. First, in terms of processes, because our customers increasingly want more integrated and efficient processes to keep costs down, obviously. But we also have to stay up to date on standards and provide our customers with a high level of security. So, we’ve made upgrades across the board in Engineering, namely with our CMMI Level 3 certifications. But you mentioned security, and that’s definitely an area our customers are extremely aware of at the moment. We’ve also launched an ISO 27001 project, which is about information systems security, to be able to host and develop projects for which we may need to process data that belongs to our customers and must absolutely not be made public.
Web TV: With regards to future growth, will it be organic growth or external growth? Or a combination of both?
Éric Matteucci – SII Chairman: Yes. In the past, we’ve generally prioritised organic growth, and I think we’ll continue to do that. But it’s clear that we’ll continue to push for external growth taking advantage of various opportunities and our acquisition strategy for geographical or sectoral markets, such as what we’ve done on previous occasions in operations that the SII Group can master.
Web TV: Given the market, does the group need to pick up the pace in that area? Certain companies are making major acquisitions. Do you need to speed up your international expansion?
Éric Matteucci – SII Chairman: I think we would have a hard time speeding up our international expansion. We started from zero and 50% of the group’s turnover will soon come from overseas. So for me, moving any faster would be quite difficult. However, I think we need to focus on our two historical markets, the French market and each of our international markets. Also, the respective strategies don’t necessarily influence SII’s overall strategy. So, those who are focusing on international growth at any cost don’t always share our objectives.
Web TV: How do you see what’s happening with small companies and start-ups?
Éric Matteucci – SII Chairman: We’re constantly monitoring what’s going on to try to get a feel for things that might be of interest to our customers but of which they may not be aware. It’s our job to connect our end customers with the technology start-ups that may be the ones to create the new technologies of the future.
Web TV: For the second half of the year, are you confident about your growth outlook? Are you seeing positive signs right now?
Éric Matteucci – SII Chairman: At the moment, yes, there are positive signs. I think that our growth rate for the first half of the year will be more or less the same as the second half. I think that even in France we should see a slight increase. The most complicated challenge – about which we remain confident – is to improve our operational margins group-wide.
Web TV: Great, we’ll keep abreast of developments. Thank you, Éric Matteucci, for being here with us.
Éric Matteucci – SII Chairman: Thank you.