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Nov. 19, 2004, 6:38 a.m. EST

Capgemini denies American unit sale

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By Madeleine Acey, CBS MarketWatch

LONDON (CBS.MW) - Capgemini denied it was planning to sell its North American consulting business following a report in the New York Times on Friday that cited unnamed sources.

A spokesman for the French IT services group said chief executive Paul Harmelin "strongly denies" the potential sale of the unit.

He said, in response to questions on whether there was a review of the unit underway or cost cuts being considered, that Capgemini was concentrating on improving turnover and margins in its North American business.

Shares were up 4 percent at 24.85 euros in Paris.

Capgemini bought its loss-making North American business from accounting firm Ernst & Young for $11.1 billion in 2000; a sale now might fall short of $1 billion, the New York Times said.

The business employs 10,000 and generates around a third of Cap Gemini's $7 billion in revenue.

Madeleine Acey is a reporter for CBS MarketWatch in London

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