The Tech Pacific group has confirmed it is "actively exploring" a public offering on the Australian Stock Exchange, possibly by the end of 2004, company CEO Shailendra Gupta told CRN today.
Although plans are in the early stages, Gupta hoped the $3 billion Asia-Pacific IT distribution business would be listed by the end of the year.
"This week I will be talking to some institutional investors giving them the profile information of the company so that they [could] try and understand the business we're in -- all the key financial institutions."
Gupta said the Tech Pacific group has done exceedingly well over the last few years, and that the state of the industry was good. "The situation is just right for us to seek a listing and we are seeing tremendous opportunity for our business moving forward. We want to make sure we have the resources available to fund our growth."
He added that the private equity investors who own Tech Pacific would have "an opportunity to realise some return on their investment."
Gupta expected that more information would come to light in a few weeks. Tech Pacific's majority shareholder is venture capitalist firm CVC Asia-Pacific. Last week, it was claimed that CVC had been in float talks with investment bank UBS. Gupta said once the process is commenced, CVC "will talk to the normal merchant bankers that they work with."
Gupta last week played down a 1 September report in the Financial Review that first broke the news that float talks were underway, saying these talks were "routine for investors".
Just a few days later, however, these talks had morphed into active plans to explore a public offering.
Tech Pacific Australia did around $1.4 billion in sales last year, a 23 percent increase on the previous year, Gupta told CRN last week.
At the time, he said business had been strong for the distributor's operations in New Zealand, India and Malaysia and growth in Asian nations had been "even higher" than in Australia.
Tech Pacific Holdings is 58.5 percent owned by CVC Asia-Pacific, a wholly owned subsidiary of Netherlands-based CVC Capital Partners.
CVC paid Dutch company Hagemeyer US$235 million for its stake in 2003.
Kerry Baillie, MD at Tech Pacific Australia was not available for comment at press time.