Imarda, a newly formed Australian holding company chaired by Kiwi entrepreneur Selwyn Pellett, has acquired SmartTrack, an Australian internet-based tracking and messaging company, for A$6.6 million (NZ$7.3 million).
Imarda has been formed by a group of private investors as an acquisition vehicle to acquire companies within the global Telematics market including, mobile computing, location-based services (via GPS) and mobile communications companies.
Fellow Imarda directors Pellett, and Claire Mitchell, Imarda’s COO and CFO, were part of the cornerstone team behind the successful listing of New Zealand-based company Endace on the AIM alternative stock exchange in June 2005.
SmartTrack was launched in 2001. It provides services including fleet and vehicle tracking and monitoring and security monitoring to a number of large Australasian companies including Boral, Toll, Woolworths, Energex and Australian Air Express, and has offices in Perth and Sydney.
Pellett, executive chairman of Imarda, says the acquisition of SmartTrack is part of a strategy to buy best of breed Telematics solutions companies in differing geographical locations and quickly take advantage of economies of scale in terms of volume, go to market expense and brand building.
“The global telematics industry is set for major growth and scale in this industry will be critical,” Pellett says.“Imarda intends to be a global powerhouse in this space and we will move aggressively to achieve this goal. Smart Track is the first of our acquisitions but we are already in discussions with a number of other companies around the world that share our vision of becoming a one stop shop for Telematics solutions.” Pellett says Imarda plans to seek a public listing sometime over the next 18 months.
Under the terms of the acquisition, SmartTrack’s co-founder and managing director, Simon Illingworth, will become a director and shareholder of Imarda.
Illingworth says the Endace success was one of the key reasons SmartTrack was keen to join the Imarda group.
“Being part of Imarda gives us the opportunity to work with a team of people who have proven experience in establishing and managing high-growth technology companies and taking them global,” he says.
Mitchell said SmartTrack was an obvious first acquisition for Imarda.
“It represents all the qualities we are looking for — great technology, strong customer base, local market domination, world-class leadership, positive cash flow and a desire to take the next step and expand beyond its current geography,” she says.