Siltek shoots for IPO stars

Siltek Asia-Pacific yesterday revealed its plans to list on the Australian Stock Exchange in September 2001.

Hugh Evans, Siltek's Asia-Pacific managing director, told ARN at the company's reseller conference here he feels comfortable on setting a date now that it has successfully begun to integrate the back-office operations of its Prion, Agate, CIE and Siltek Communications divisions.

As a result, corporate branding has become a priority for the Siltek group, which still leverages significant brand investment in such names as Agate and Prion.

Naming its annual conference the "Siltek Reseller Conference" instead of its previous "Agate Reseller Conference" moniker is just one example of the company's attempt to reshape industry perceptions of the company.

Evans explained that Siltek's integrated HR, IT, finance, marketing and warehouse operations, which includes the use of software from Great Plains, will give the company the head start it needs to compete with larger competitors such as Tech Pacific, Express Data and Ingram Micro.

The company is set to launch an aggressive strategy, based on B2B, a call centre and a web portal, to address the e-business needs of its top tier, mid-range and smaller customers respectively.

"Internally we call it operation leapfrog," he said of Siltek's ambition to out perform its competitors.

The company is also conducting other measures to improve the company's standing such as implementing quality assurance accreditation for its Prion and CIE divisions.

Michael Bosnar, the managing director of Prion, said the division itself has witnessed healthy growth since its acquisition by Siltek because of the added efficiencies and market power it brought to the table.

Staff head count is up 5 per cent, he said, commenting that Prion's HP consumer business has been a big driver, particularly in the retail markets.

Another example of growth is that Prion will soon take on Cabletron's wireless LAN products, Bosnar said. He said Cabletron's products not only work, but offer good margins.

Prion also wants to build its business in New Zealand before moving on to Asia using the support of CDR maker Traxdata.

Meanwhile, Agate scored its own coup this week with the signing of HP's storage business. Evans said that while the "ink is still drying" on the deal, Agate now has a relationship with HP and is supported by Prion on the fulfilment side for all HP storage products.

Evans said the company's IPO ambitions also include a staff share plan, a critical measure taken to stem the flow of employees poached from the company, typically by vendors.

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