Paris (AFP)

A cyber attack has plummeted the half-year profit of the group of analytical services for pharmacy, agri-food and the environment Eurofins, which hopes to obtain compensation from its insurers, announced the company on Thursday in a statement.

The group's net profit fell 35% to 58.9 million euros in the first half of the year, mainly due to the disruption and costs associated with this "ransomware" attack in June.

"Many of the group's laboratories were unfortunately hit by a severe cyberattack on June 2, 2019, which significantly affected some of Eurofins' operations in June, temporarily hampering their financial performance," said group CEO Gilles Martin. quoted in the press release.

Eurofins is currently in discussion with its insurers to determine a compensation amount.

For the time being, it estimates that it has affected its turnover of 62 million euros over the semester (out of a total of 2.17 billion). Its profitability has also begun.

"The net financial impact, after the compensation of insurance, should be much lower" to the figures so far advanced, said the group, which hopes to receive "at least partial payments" by the end of the year .

The group had warned by the end of June that this cyber attack would weigh on its results.

A ransomware, a form of digital extortion, penetrated its computer systems in several countries during the weekend of 1 and 2 June.

It was not until June 17 that most of the operations of the laboratories affected within the group were able to resume normally.

Cybercriminals who are adept at ransomware campaigns are increasingly targeting large companies "able to pay" for "very high" amounts of money, according to a study by the Interior Ministry published in July.

These cyberattacks, which consist in seizing user data via malware before demanding ransom in exchange for their release, had caused significant economic losses in 2017 to large French groups such as Renault or Saint-Gobain , victims of viruses WannaCry and NotPetya.

More recently, Fleury Michon suspended production for five days because of a computer virus, an incident whose costs should also be covered by its insurance.

© 2019 AFP