Mincom experiences troubles in South American expansion

Mincom experiences troubles in South American expansion

Australian software company Mincom is undergoing some serious changes under the helm of new CEO Frank Berger.

A company restructure in early February has seen the departure of two long-term employees, marketing executive vice president Jock O'Keefe and head of development Ross Laughlin.

"We needed people who could grow and change directions," said a spokesperson for Mincom.

Australia's largest software company, Mincom's changes started in May last year when then CEO David Merson resigned his 20-year tenure at the helm for "personal reasons".

O'Keefe was once considered to be a replacement, but instead American Berger took up the position.

In November Mincom spun off its information technology services (ITS) unit in a multimillion-dollar bid to capitalise on the rapidly expanding ASP technology market.

Tequinox is now one of four strategic Mincom divisions with Berger touting a policy of 4x4x4.

The new divisions are Tequinox, the enterprise application software unit, the professional services unit and Link 1, which is Mincom's online document arm that concentrates on building e-business solutions.

Then there are four distinct vertical markets; mining, oil and gas; defence and government; transport; and utilities.

These will operate in four regions; Asia Pacific, North America, Latin America and Europe, Middle East and Africa.

"We have a strong heritage in mining but under the new strategy there are plans to position Mincom as a total solutions provider. We'll work with our partners and develop new solutions ourselves," explained the spokesperson.

The postponement of an IPO, announced early last year amidst the sacking of 110 workers, is an active choice on Mincom's part. "There are a lot of options open to a company in our position. Whether it be attracting investment partners or software partners, Mincom's intention is to get solid results before doing anything," said the spokesperson.

Instead growth will be carved out organically, with an office in Hong Kong slated to be opened on the 1st of March, inspired by a joint project for the Mass Transit Rail between Oracle, Andersens and Mincom.

Latin America will also have a local Mincom presence with plans to fast track the establishment of an office in Peru spurred on by the Australian company's recent successes in the region. "Plans are in place for a March 2000 office opening in Peru to manage Mincom's commercial operation and to provide local technical support to our customers," said Reamer Verger, president of Mincom's Latin America operations.

Most recently Mincom won a $3 million contract with mining company Southern Peru Copper Corporation (SPCC).

Mincom began implementing the system in February and plans to have its MIMS Open Enterprise sub systems for operations, maintenance, logistics, finance and human resources rolled out by November. This will allow 200 concurrent MIMs users across several sites.

This deal follows on from other major successes in the region, when in June last year the Australian company won a $1.9 million contract to implement the same system for Argentinian copper mining operator Alumbrera, beating out rival SAP for the privilege.

The site went live in July. A similar tender was secured in August last year with South America's largest gold producer Minera Yanococha S.A. worth more than $2.5 million and is expected to go live in April.

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