Integral bolsters Microsoft practice with APL buy

Integral bolsters Microsoft practice with APL buy

Integral aims to become a $50 million business on the back of its acquisition of Auckland-based firm APL Plus.

While not disclosing how much it paid for the 40-strong company, Integral says the purchase is a significant investment.

Managing director Ray Noonan says the acquisition will help Integral become a $50 million dollar business by the end of its next financial year.

However, he would not disclose the company’s current revenues.

APL’s 40 staff bring “critical mass” to Integral’s burgeoning solutions practice, particularly around Microsoft, says Noonan. “We have grown organically in that space, but it is about having critical mass as opposed to taking longer to build our capability.”

Both companies are Microsoft Gold partners and although APL did not necessarily posses Microsoft skills that Integral did not already have, it did have those skills on a larger scale, says Noonan.

But he points out that expanding its Microsoft business will not detract from Integral’s IBM partnership. “IBM remains a very strategic partner – it was and is the foundation of our business. We don’t see a lessening of the value there as we grow into new areas of business.”

With the addition of APL’s staff, Integral now has just over 130 employees, while both APL’s former owners have joined the company.

Lincoln Watson now heads the company’s business solutions division, while Drew Gilpin has taken on an evangelism role. “They fill strategic roles within our business. We are confident that they will fit into our executive team extremely well. They created an excellent business – we want to harness [their] skills and enthusiasm,” says Noonan.

Even though this is Integral’s fourth acquisition in as many years, Noonan says this is not the company’s preferred growth strategy. “Our organic growth is very strong – our acquisitions are made for strategic reasons rather than for revenue growth.”

Although Noonan does not anticipate any further acquisitions, he does not rule out the possibility completely. “We have a strong cash position and we think there may be some more opportunities over the next year or two, given the financial climate, to make other acquisitions.”

But Noonan is quick to point out that APL was not struggling. “APL is a very successful company that has grown very strongly.”

He says APL doubled its revenue since Gilpin and Watson took over the business from Advantage Group in 2004.

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