Volante to merge businesses

Volante to merge businesses

Volante Group CEO Allan Brackin has decided to bite the bullet and consolidate the company's two IT procurement businesses, AMS and VIT.

Aiming to complete the integration of the two businesses by February 1, Brackin said the next few months will see VIT managing director Hugh Bickerstaff and AMS managing director Shane Taylor organise for their businesses to be melded together.

Brackin said the move to consolidate the two businesses had always been on the agenda, but the group needed time to "get to know each other" under the Volante umbrella before the merger could take place in a smooth fashion.

As yet, Bickerstaff and Taylor are still hammering out the details of how to consolidate staff, several buildings and warehouses, and most importantly, back-end systems.

Brackin said that although AMS had recently implemented a new back-end system it was still unclear which system will be chosen. "It's early days just yet."

Bickerstaff has been asked to lead the new company, while Taylor will take on an important new role within the Volante Group. The name of the consolidated company is yet to be determined - Brackin said it is unlikely to be named VIT or AMS, and may simply be called Volante.

"The customer base for the two businesses are different so I don't see too many issues," he said. "We will plan this very well. We will take our time and make sure we cover the risks."

Speaking at the group's annual general meeting, Brackin said the IT spend of major corporates is being reduced, but the group is picking up enough new business to make up for it. Also, its NetBridge IT services division is leveraging the customer base of the group's two procurement businesses to gain further revenues.

Brackin mentioned the supposed hurdles that Volante had faced in the last 12 months - vendors going direct, the rise of e-marketplaces and outsourcing - and dismissed them all as having little effect on the business.

"Everyone has said for the last three years that vendors like IBM and Compaq will go direct, but I don't see it as a big issue," Brackin said. "I don't believe the vendors can provide the services that we can. We haven't lost one customer to an outsourcer yet.

"Even if they do outsource, they would generally use us for procurement."

Brackin also shrugged off the threat of business-to-business exchanges. "So far, one has closed and another one is losing business," he said.

"They haven't taken any business from us and at this point in time, they aren't a threat."

Volante expects earnings growth for the full financial year.

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