Integrator eServ CEO Ian Buddery was breathing easy after the company closed its first day of trading on September 8 at $1.80 per share, up 80 cents from its issue price of $1.00.
"We expected it to hit the market at about $1.50 and close somewhere between $1.50-$2.00, so we were pretty much on the money," Buddery said.
By the end of the day's trading, 4.2 million shares had changed hands. Late last week, eServ was trading around $1.56. Based on the issue price of $1.00 per share, the company was expecting to raise a $15 million "war chest".
Buddery said the money will be used for acquisitions over the next 12 months, in addition to investing in product development. The Sydney-based systems integrator is now looking for telecommunications companies with networking expertise to fuel its expansion plans in the US, Asia and Europe.
"To scale the company up we have to acquire, because the people we need are so highly specialist they just aren't sitting there in the market," he said. With a current staff of 130, eServ is hiring two or three people a month to fuel this growth.
Buddery is now keen to return his focus to the company's core business of systems integration. Since making the decision to list in February, he has sifted through a barrage of forms, prospectuses and business plans, and given dozens of presentations to potential investors.
"Because of our international subsidiaries we had to [undertake] due diligence in the UK, Belgium, US, New Zealand and Hong Kong, as well as Australia. What we do is technically very complex so we have been driving a lot of discussions and presentations to help investors understand what the opportunities are."
Buddery has also used a lot of energy ensuring eServ attracts the right sort of investors. "What you don't want is short-term peaks and troughs. You don't want your stocks traded by day traders as a volatile share," he said. "You want to target solid investors such as management funds and investment companies and secure their long-term support for the stocks."
Buddery said it's great to see Australian companies finally getting access to the market. "Australia has a tremendous amount of IT skill to offer on a global scale, but for a long time a minority of flaky companies have tainted the investment market, establishing a boom and bust trend."
Buddery said part of the fight is enlightening investors to the fact that there are quality companies in the Australian market worthy of support. And he believes he is winning the good fight.
"Investors are supporting Australian technology companies now. They are not just painting us into the same corner as the fantastic failures. I think the current climate in Australia is offering the economic, Government and investment environment for local companies to succeed on the global market."