ASX-listed services company UXC is unlikely to enter the New Zealand infrastructure market in the short term, following its acquisition of Getronics this month.
Getronics is a significant infrastructure player in Australia.
The main deterrent factors, says Cris Nicolli, CEO of UXC’s business solutions group, are the presence of strong local competitors such as Gen-i and Datacom and the fact that UXC has no existing presence in the New Zealand infrastructure market.
UXC has previously acquired some small units in similar markets in Australia, “so we have some synergy there which gives us a good start”, Nicolli says. “But there’s nothing of that kind in New Zealand.”
Melbourne-based UXC’s “game plan” in New Zealand is to build on its existing strengths in ERP and middleware, he says.
It has what Nicolli claims to be the largest SAP consultancy in the country, through its 2005 acquisition of Carter Holt Harvey spin-off Oxygen, and one of the largest Oracle businesses.
It is also fast growing a business in Microsoft Dynamics GP (formerly Great Plains) applications through its acquisition of eOne and Eclipse.
Particular attention this year will go on the service-oriented architecture (SOA) market, Nicolli says.
Since its 2005 acquisition of Oxygen, UXC has concentrated on growing “organically” in New Zealand, he says, to the point where it now has about 100 staff, split between Auckland and Wellington. It is building capability across the range of its products and services in both centres, growing an Auckland presence for its Oracle and PeopleSoft business that came out of Wellington’s Red Rock and a Wellington offshoot of its Oxygen business, says Stuart Dickinson, general manager people and brand for the Oxygen business unit.
But Nicolli says it’s unwise to rule anything out completely, including further New Zealand acquisitions; that is, after all, the quickest way of growing into a new business area, he says.
If a local company “gets into trouble” or decides on a radical shift in its plans involving some divestment, there could be a New Zealand acquisition opportunity, even in the infrastructure space, he says.
Among UXC’s largest New Zealand clients are Transpower and ACC. Nicolli says he sees “nothing that’s earth-shattering” by way of current New Zealand tenders that the company may pick up; the near term holds rather a steady growth of medium-scale business here.