Working Systems now a backer of Bourke

Working Systems now a backer of Bourke

Listed health industry integrator and e-business solutions provider Working Systems Solutions has acquired rival Bourke Johnston Systems (BJS) Australia in a $2.6 million deal that it claims makes it the largest hospital systems provider in Australia.

Working Systems CEO John Wreford estimated the company's 2001 revenues forecast in its pospectus earlier this year would grow by "about 16 per cent, or about $1.5 million" as a result of the BJS buyout.

As well as providing an instant East Coast presence via BJS' Melbourne headquarters and customer base, the move is also a manifestation of the acquisition strategy it outlined in its prospectus.

"We anticipate an additional lift to our other e-business revenues and earnings as a result of our stronger presence in East Coast markets arising from our new Melbourne-based capacity," Wreford said. "[BJS] was a good geographic fit. [The acquisition] will also help us to grow our other non-health related e-business initiatives on both sides of the country.

"Health is our major vertical market, but it is not our only one. We are also big in parking systems and our software and systems are also used extensively in aged care facilities," he added.

Wreford said the core competency of Working Systems is in developing e-commerce systems for hospitals of "up to about 300 beds". However, he said its products are fully scalable and claimed that through acquisitions and an increased profile generated by being ASX listed, the merged entity is now "aggressively after larger hospitals".

"We now have a lot of horsepower in the area of e-commerce and we seek to dominate the health industry," Wreford said.

Working Systems' strong public hospital client base in Western Australia and South Australia combines well with the extensive mainly East Coast-based private hospital and day surgery centre client base of BJS.

According to BJS' managing director, Bruce Bourke, the company had sought an injection of investment funds to continue development of its proprietary software systems and to invest in "new technologies and systems in the e-health area. We believe the sale to Working Systems will now ensure that we will be able to deliver these e-health systems to our clients," Bourke said.

Wreford said further acquisitions were on the cards for the cashed-up company, but they wouldn't be just any company, but ones which can add value to their growth targets.

"We are only after companies that have intellectual property, distribution channels and/or a strategic fit with Working Systems," Wreford said.

The principals BJS will be paid out via $1.3 million of 50 cent shares over a 24-month period and a further $1.3 million in cash over the next 12 months.

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