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By | John Oates 11th October 2004 11:13

Market float for reseller consolidator

A little less conversation and a little more action

Maxima Holdings has taken over SAP reseller Azur for £16.7m.

The firm intends to fund the takeover by floating on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) later this month. Maxima is a new venture set up by Kelvin Harrison and Geoff Bicknell. The firm is looking for more acquisition targets among UK reseller and service companies.

Kelvin Harrison, Maxima’s chief executive, said: “Azur is the platform from which we aim to build a focused IT services group - a professional services company rather than one that is vulnerable to IT product development...We are going to build a business that creates value through the provision of exemplary service to customers and the efforts of a skilled and motivated delivery team...

The sector is highly fragmented and there are a significant number of targets, application software and service companies generating between £2m and £20m of revenues.They are constrained because they lack a number of key ingredients - critical mass, management experience, finance to expand and the ability to attract talent to help them.”

Geoff Bicknell, Maxima finance director, said: “There is constant talk about the need for consolidation within the sector but, in reality, very little has been done about it...The executive team has the ability to run a business many times the size of Azur and with a good second tier management in place, the directors will be concentrating on the next steps. Naturally we are already looking towards further acquistions and are already working on a pipeline of opportunities. Our aim is to become a major European software services business within three to five years.”

Azur employs more than 100 staff and for the year ended May 2004 it made a pre-tax profit of £1.87m on turnover of £12.4m. It operates three divisions: Azur for SAP, Azur Business Solutions for manufacturing and construction customers and Minerva Industrial Systems which distributes QAD enterprise software for manufacturing firms.

Michael Brooke and Jeremy Prescott will join the firm as non-executive directors. ®

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