Powerlan flattens out on acquisitions trail

After snapping up 22 companies in nine months, the Powerlan group is "well down the road" toward its objective, says chairman Neville Wran.

Hinting that Powerlan's acquisition rate may flatten out, Wran said: "It is now a matter of integration and natural growth" for the company. Its goal is to become the ultimate one-stop shop for IT products and services.

The process of moulding Powerlan's purchases into a common corporate culture has gone "reasonably well" so far, Wran said.

He credited it to the due diligence procedures conducted prior to each purchase plus the effort put into ensuring that proper synergies existed.

His comments came as Powerlan officially opened the Brisbane office into which it has folded the results of its recent Queensland buying spree.

That includes systems integrator Sunrise Computer Systems, XSI Data Storage and ACE Training.

Powerlan paid approximately $10 million in cash and shares for Sunrise, which like Powerlan started life as a traditional reseller and diversified into services.

Sunrise responded to Powerlan's overtures because it didn't want to be marginalised as the sector consolidated, said founder Phil Howson, who has morphed into Powerlan's Queensland branch manager.

The new office has about 100 staff and will contribute about $50 million of Powerlan's annual $200 million turnover.

Sunrise's mix of systems integration, training and recruitment services is a substantial subset of Powerlan's offerings. Customers will now have access to Powerlan's ASP and ERP solutions as well.

For staff of the new Queensland acquisitions, the merger will open new career opportunities offshore.

Powerlan has offices in eight countries outside Australia, including most Southeast Asian nations.

Revenues currently are drawn two-thirds from Australia and one-third from Asia but Powerlan's longer-term aim is to reverse those ratios.

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