Alstom IT management complete buyout

Alstom IT management complete buyout

The local management of Alstom IT has finally completed a management buyout that will see the distributor operate as an Australian company. Taking control from its French energy and transport parent company, Alstom, had originally been scheduled for completion in March.

"We wanted to make sure when we did this it was all correct," Alstom IT managing director, Laurie Sellers, said. "There was no rush for us and Alstom have not pressured us into an early completion.

"We have had to put into a superannuation scheme for the staff and novate existing vendor agreements across to the new company. That can take quite a lot of time."

Although it took longer than planned, Sellers said the new company had successfully retained all of its 80-plus staff as well as its existing vendor partners. They included Sun, IBM, Citrix, Wyse, Trend Micro, Websense, HP and Oracle.

A letter sent out to resellers expressed excitement at having completed the deal and asked for continued support.

"It's really business as usual because we are taking over an existing business and have no immediate plans for dramatic change," Sellers said.

"But when you complete an MBO [management buyout] it changes the way people inside the company think - particularly among those people directly involved. I feel confident there will be a fresh flow of ideas in terms of what we can do to improve the business."

Alstom IT has been operating as a technology distributor in Australia since acquiring IT Connections through the purchase of the Lionel Singer Corporation in 1992.

"That gave us a leg-up into the distribution business," Sellers said. "In the early days, Digital was our flagship vendor and we added products from other vendors such as Oracle and Microsoft to compliment it. Things changed over the years and Digital was taken over by Compaq.

"We were very fortunate to pick up Sun because many of the products that complimented Digital were also complimentary to Sun. We have continued to grow the business since then but now have more emphasis on software products."

The MBO opportunity was first discussed by local Alstom management at the end of last year when it became clear that the distributor's parent company was looking to get out of its non-core operations.

Sellers will now head an unchanged management team that also consists of Greg Newham (general manager), Ken Harper (operations manager) and Catie Kenny (finance manager).

The company board will include Sellers, Dinshaw Katrak (chairman) and Keith Kerridge (external director).

According to its website, Alstom has annual revenues of about $150 million.

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