Euro financial downturn takes out Kiwi development arm

The financial market downturn in the US and Europe has hit local company Sphere Business Group hard, with 13 out of 15 staff being laid off, according to managing director Ashley Helm.

The financial market downturn in the US and Europe has hit local company Sphere Business Group hard, with 13 out of 15 staff being laid off, according to managing director Ashley Helm.

"It's not finalised yet but ... we'll be left with only a couple of staff at the most," Helm says of the company, which does e-commerce work for banks and financial houses.

"We have a big e-commerce site in the UK that's like a data exchange - they use our platform."

The New Zealand arm provides support and processing for the UK site here in New Zealand, reducing costs all round. SBG's development team is based in Auckland while its sales arm and lead developers are London-based.

However, as the financial markets continue to suffer from the downturn, SBG is forced to move into "hibernation" according to Helm.

"We're down, but we're not out. We're working to keep the company going and to emerge out the other side from this."

Part of future development plans for the company, which has its group head office in London, is to diversify into the Asia Pacific market in the future.

"Obviously not in this climate, the way it is at the moment, but certainly that is the plan for the future."

Helm says the primary goal for the future is to restart the company in Asia Pacific region, building on the UK experience.

"A lot of the fund managers, especially the little guys who work together need this kind of data exchange."

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