Bryan, Garnier & Co, the European Growth Investment Bank, announces today the successful closing of a Eur 49 million secondary placement of 21 Centrale Partners’ 27.5% stake in SWORD (Euronext: SWP)

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Bryan, Garnier & Co Ltd, Corporate Finance – London & Paris, Thursday October 20, 2005. Bryan, Garnier & Co (, the European Investment Bank for growth companies, announced today the closing of a Eur 49 million secondary placement of 21 Centrale Partners’ 27.5% stake in SWORD (Euronext: SWP), one of the fastest growing and most profitable European IT Services company.

This transaction, led by Bryan, Garnier & Co Ltd as Sole Placement Agent, was performed through an accelerated private placement with over 15 first tier institutional investors, increasing the free float up to 70% of the capital.

21 Développement is a private equity fund managed by 21 Centrale Partners, which invests in private companies to support their growth strategy with a 3 to 5 years investment horizon. The fund has been a shareholder of Sword since its inception in 2000. This exit is in line with 21 Centrale’s investment strategy and occurs as Sword’s profile has evolved from a successful French IT Services company to the leading international provider of Corporate Compliance Management solutions and services, with over 80% of its revenues generated outside of France. With more than 50% of the placement allocated to first tier international investors, the geography of the placement reflects the strong international business exposure of the company.

Greg Revenu, Managing Director of the Corporate Finance activities at Bryan, Garnier & Co commented: “Such a secondary placement was conducted to ensure the best liquidity for 21 Développement while building the most appropriate investor base for Sword’s next stage of development. This required the combination of a deep understanding of the IT sector, an active presence in Europe’s equity capital markets and longstanding relationships with the private equity community. We managed to deliver the optimal solution for each stakeholder in a very short time frame, and this created a strong opportunity to improve the
market for the stock”.

Over the past months, Bryan Garnier & Co’s Corporate Finance has increased significantly its presence on Euronext listed companies in the Technology, Media, Telecom (TMT) and Life Sciences sectors, leading a number of successful placements representing an aggregate amount of more than Eur 150 million for small and mid-caps companies such as Transgene (Euronext: TNG), CAST (Euronext: CAS), Stedim (Euronext: STD) and Carrere Group (Euronext: CAR).

Olivier Garnier, Managing Director of Bryan, Garnier & Co Ltd commented : “The present transaction is a further illustration of Bryan, Garnier’s ability to successfully deliver for its clients. Our capacity to provide at a European level, the commitment of an independent entrepreneurial investment bank, with the services and the experience of bulge bracket firms is critical to our fast growing clients. The impact of our equity research on our core growth sectors (TMT, Healthcare, Business services and Specialty Retail), the experience of our investment bankers to provide advice and deliver solutions to our clients, and the close relationship we have with the entrepreneurs in our sector of focus are key to our development. The combination of these strengths and our international placement capacity are key factors for growing our position in the IPO and follow-on market for emerging companies.”

Jean-Luc Lénart, Senior Advisor in charge of IT Services at Bryan, Garnier & Co commented: “Sword’s success is based on the combination of a highly differentiated strategy focusing on the fast growing niche of “Corporate Compliance Management” for enterprises and governmental agencies in highly regulated sectors and a strong management who has demonstrated its capacity to manage a highly profitable internal and external growth strategy. In a recovering environment, the IT Services industry is about to start a consolidation phase that could lead to a deep modification of the competitive landscape in Europe, still today composed of a large number of medium-sized undifferentiated players.”

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