Version 1 grows again with UK acquisition

Move brings number of acquisitions the IT services company has made since 2013 to five

 Ruairi Quinn TD and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton  with Version 1’s chief executive Justin Keatinge. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien / The Irish Times

Ruairi Quinn TD and Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton with Version 1’s chief executive Justin Keatinge. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien / The Irish Times

 

Irish IT services company Version 1 has bought Patech Solutions, a Birmingham IT consultancy with 65 staff.

Patech had sales last year of £8.3 million (€10.6 million) and made after-tax profits of almost €700,000. Version 1 declined to comment on the price it paid in the all-cash deal, but on standard industry multiples it is likely to have between £5 million and £10 million.

It is Version 1’s fifth acquisition since 2013, as it rolls out an ambitious growth plan that may eventually lead to a flotation, according to chief executive Justin Keatinge. Version 1 sells IT services to large businesses and State entities, specialising in systems used by Oracle and Microsoft.

Oracle partner

The Irish company said it bought Patech “due to its significant experience” of Oracle products. “The acquisition will see Version 1 strengthen its position as the leading Oracle partner in Britain and Ireland,” the company said.

Mr Keatinge said the Patech business would be integrated into its own operations.

“We will sell to the same customers and also cross-sell our other products,” he said.

He said Version 1, which employs more than 600 people including 150 in the UK, will remain focused on buying “niche consultancies” in the UK for “the next couple of years”.

The company, which is unlimited so does not file detailed accounts, said it grew by 35 per cent in 2014. It said it expected to achieve sales in 2015 of more than €70 million.

Version 1 raised €8 million in funding from the BDO Development Capital Fund last summer. Mr Keatinge said it would continue to raise equity “from time to time”.

“We will keep raising money on a private basis but eventually we may decide to do it publicly, so an IPO is a possibility,” he said.