Wales greets Tauranga firm with open arms

Tauranga-based Panztel has opened an office in South Wales to serve its burgeoning European prospects.

Tauranga-based Panztel has opened an office in South Wales to serve its burgeoning European prospects.

The company developed a phone-based staff monitoring system called ezitracker and says it is enjoying sales across New Zealand, Australia and Britain. Remote workers, such as cleaners, "clock in" by phoning a special number from the office they are cleaning and ringing again when they have finished.

Panztel sales and marketing manager Michael Smith says the office is sited in Caldicott near Newport for partly historic and partly business reasons. Panztel managing director Jonathan Hudson “retired” to Tauranga after creating Esprit Telecom in South Wales in the early 1990s. He eventually sold the by-then public company to Global Telecommunication Services for close to $US1 billion.

Telephony technology firm Mitel has its European headquarters in Caldicott. Phone equipment maker Alcatel is also located nearby. Together this allows Panztel to source workers known to Hudson. South Wales also offers cheap accommodation, has good phone facilities and is close to London and the rest of Europe, says Smith. "The Welsh Development Agency also welcomed us with open arms, assisting with funding and offering assistance in finding suitable premises,” he says.

Panztel’s services “went live” in Britain in May and already it claims major customers, including a $3.5 million deal with Yorkshire e-business and telecomms company Energis, which has 55,000 UK staff. Two similar organisations are also showing interest in ezitracker, says Smith.

He says the UK is “vital” to Panztel’s long-term strategy, but New Zealand has been a good testing ground.

Meanwhile, the Welsh Development Agency has been eyeing further IT prospects in New Zealand.

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