<strong>IT Europa</strong>: ASBIS raises game with <strong>London listing</strong>

December 10, 2006

IT Europa: ASBIS raises game with London listing

IT Europa, an authoritative publication on Europe’s ICT channel, published an article on ASBIS’ listing at the London Stock Exchange. The article refers to ASBIS as ‘a major contender in wholesale across eastern Europe’ and extensively quotes ASBIS’ CEO Siarhei Kostevitch, who comments on the company’s objectives and plans related to the listing.

IT Europa: ASBIS raises game with London listing

PAN-EASTERN European components distributor ASBIS has listed on the UK’s AIM exchange for ‘alternative’ investments in a bid to give it acquisitional power. The firm is already a major contender in wholesale across eastern Europe, and in 2005, it generated profits of $9m (€7m) on revenues of $930m (€727m).

Siarhei Kostevitch Siarhei Kostevitch, CEO at Cyprus-based ASBIS, tells IT Europa the aim of the listing was not to raise money immediately, but instead to ‘provide access to capital for future acquisitions, to develop the business ... and to give incentives to employees by granting options.’ He claims the choice of London as the place to list was to ‘raise [the company’s] profile’. He refuses to disclose at the moment which are ASBIS’ acquisitional targets.

ASBIS is also planning to enlarge its PC assembly business, which comprises the Prestigio and Canyon brands as well as white boxes. Kostevitch explains: ‘This area of our business, the newest, has already proved very successful.’ For both PC assembly and distribution, the firm works with vendors such as Intel, Seagate and Hitachi, and it claims such partners support the move.

Since the late-October listing, the share price has been stable around the 125 pence (€1.85) mark. Kostevitch retains a controlling stake in the company, estimated at 52pc, and aside from the directors, investment firms Alfo Administration, Black Sea Fund and Alpha Ventures are understood to have owned much of the rest of the company prior to the listing.

With ASBIS’ prowess in eastern European distribution, and other wholesalers said to be watching it closely, the market is anticipating whether other distributors might invest in the company. Kostevitch refuses to speculate, saying only: ‘This sounds like a question for them.’

Our Analysis

With ASBIS’ dominant position in eastern European components sales, growth outside acquisition could be a challenge. Now, though, the firm is likely to try to scoop up one-country distributors and/or assemblers. Will it also try to look at fellow components disti ELKO’s books? It could make interesting reading for ASBIS. Stay tuned to find out what the company does next and who invests.

Copyright: IT Europa (17 November 2006)

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