eServ acquires a taste for floating

eServ acquires a taste for floating

Sydney integrator eServ will list on the Australian Stock Exchange later this year, but with the intention of accelerating acquisitions, not to raise capital.

According to eServ's CEO, Ian Buddery, the ASX listing will be centred around adopting the currency used to fund most acquisitions: scrip.

Furthermore, stockmarket performance was a key factor studied by companies looking for buyers, he said. Acquisition, particularly in the Asia-Pacific IT services market, is in eServ's short-term game plan.eServ carries out ongoing web integration projects for finance, telecommunications and media companies. Buddery said the convergence of these industries through the internet made for bountiful contracting work for integrators.

Float details such as the amount sought to be raised and the approximate date are not yet available because the company has not yet issued a prospectus.

However, Buddery is already looking forward to life after listing. He described the task of compiling a company prospectus as "onerous" and "a distraction" from business.

Buddery was quick to differentiate eServ from what he described as "smoke and mirrors" listed IT companies that he said focused too much on public image and too little on fulfilling integration contracts according to customer needs.

"They're robbing Peter to pay Paul," he said.eServ never sub-contracts projects to external integrators and never agrees to take on projects it is not staffed to carry out, he said. In fact, eServ names the employees assigned to a project, personally, when the contract is made, he said.

The 10-year-old ex-Sun Microsystems reseller has previously acquired integrators Uniq Professional Services, JPM Networks and C&W Optus spinoff Integrator. eServ also acquired telco network software company G8 earlier this year. eServ's IPO was delayed due to multiple due diligence proceedings resulting from G8's multinational presence, Buddery said.

The 120-employee company currently services ongoing contracts with telcos Telstra, C&W Optus and Orange, and financial services companies Deutsche Bank and Salomon Smith Barney.eServ is currently paying back funding provided by venture capitalist firm Allen & Buckeridge, which took a 45 per cent strategic stake in the company in 1998. Allen & Buckeridge's interest in the company will not diminish once the money is paid back, Buddery said. In fact, Allen & Buckeridge chairman Roger Allen will retain his posting on the eServ board.

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