TechPac float talks just routine: Gupta

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Tech Pacific Holdings has moved to hose down an Australian news media report suggesting that its major investor is considering a public float.

Tech Pacific Holdings has moved to hose down an Australian news media report suggesting that its major investor is considering a public float.

A news report on Wednesday suggested that Tech Pacific -- via its majority shareholder, venture capitalist firm CVC Asia Pacific -- had been in float talks with investment bank UBS.

However, Tech Pacific Holdings chief executive officer Shailendra Gupta pointed out from the company's headquarters in Singapore that such talks are routine for investors.

There was no suggestion that any such talks had gone any further than usual for any venture capitalist evaluating its portfolio, he said.

"CVC is quite possibly having talks, because it has a number of clients, [about] buying and selling businesses. It would be quite natural for them to talk about these things all the time," Gupta said.

Doubtless, exit options for CVC Asia Pacific were being explored. That was the nature of venture capital investment, he said.

Gupta also maintained that Tech Pacific's distribution business was going well both in Australia and overseas.

"TechPac [Australia] did close to $1.4 billion in sales last year. That's 23 percent growth on the previous year," he said. "That's very strong growth."

Profit figures were not available. However, it is no secret that the profits of many mainstream, broadbased distributors have been flat in recent years.

"And again, this year we have sustained double digit growth in Australia," Gupta said.

Business had also been good for Tech Pacific in New Zealand, India and Malaysia and growth in Asian nations had been "even higher" than in Australia, he said.

"We are leading the market [in those countries]," Gupta said. "And we are in the top two in Singapore and Hong Kong."

Tech Pacific was experiencing good Asia-Pacific sales -- including in Australia -- from mobility and wireless product lines in particular. As a result, connectivity and security offerings were also doing well, he said.

"Another area is home digital," Gupta said. Many digital home-type products had not used the IT channel until recently but today sales were increasing, he said.

Gaming was also becoming a focus. "We believe gaming will become an integral part of the home digital phenomenon," Gupta said.

Enterprise had been flat but Tech Pac was making "significant investments" to stimulate its enterprise portfolio. Unix platforms were a particular focus, he said.

Tech Pacific also had hopes for an Australia-wide SMB-focused program had been going for some time. "The goal is to have a reseller network in every small town and urban centre in out-country areas," Gupta said.

The company was also moving to lift its supply chain performance, setting up a new Melbourne warehouse to improve delivery time to regional areas, Gupta said.

"We're doing a number of things," he said.

Tech Pacific Holdings is 58.5 percent owned CVC Asia Pacific, a wholly owned subsidiary of Netherlands-based CVC Capital Partners.

CVC Asia Pacific paid another Dutch company, Hagemeyer, US$235 million  for that 58.5 percent stake in 2003. Hagemeyer retained 31.5 percent of the global company.


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