Alstom goes back to the future as itX

Alstom goes back to the future as itX

Alstom IT has gone full circle, rebranding as itX Group in recognition of its historical roots. The distributor had agreed to change its name before the end of 2005 as part of the management buyout deal it struck with its former French energy and transport parent company, Alstom, in October last year.

"We have been allowed to trade as Alstom IT for a period of time, which gave us one less thing to worry about as we went through the transition period," itX managing director, Laurie Sellers, said.

"That gave us some breathing room to think about rebranding the business. We did think about going to market with a totally new name but it is a difficult process to come up with one that says what you do and is different enough to what's already out there to be registered.

"We came to the conclusion that we ought to resurrect where we came from before trading as Alstom IT, but give it a fresh face."

The distributor's origins date back to GEC in the early 1980s, when it was known as GEC Information Technology. It subsequently became GEC Alsthom after Alcatel bought a 50 per cent share, before acquiring the Lionel Singer Corporation in 1992.

"Singer was an entrepreneurial pioneer of the local IT industry who established Prime and Pyramid. He even registered the name Sun in Australia and brought its first workstations to this country," Sellers recalled. "Sun Microsystems eventually had to purchase the name from him. One small part of the Lionel Singer Corporation was a distribution business called i.t.connXions, which became generally known as itX.

"The core values we had then still exist today and our technologies are still based around Unix, with Sun as our major hardware partner alongside software from IBM, Citrix, Oracle and HP."

Despite the name change, Sellers insisted it would be business as usual for the distributor and its resellers.

"Our value has been built around customer intimacy and that won't change," he said. "Our business is only as big as that of all our resellers added together - we have to grow their businesses in order to grow ours."

Sellers joined itX in 1993, when the company had eight staff and a turnover of about $5 million.

Today, he is running a company of 110 people and said he hoped it could break the $200 million barrier in this financial year for only the second time in its history.

"We did more than $200 million in the 2000/2001 financial year, largely due to business that grew out of Millennium Bug concerns and the introduction of GST," he recalled.

"Many of those systems are coming up for refresh this year and that represents a major opportunity for our resellers.

"We are expecting a big financial year in the corporate space and we hope to cross that $200 million line again."

As previously reported in ARN, itX is prepared to get the chequebook out in order to buy other distribution businesses and further its growth aspirations.

Sellers said he would ideally like to buy a security or storage specialist with a core of about half a dozen products and a turnover of about $10 million.

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