Plan B buys Solarix to bolster networking capabilities

Plan B buys Solarix to bolster networking capabilities

Business continuity specialists takes control of bespoke Auckland-based provider

Ian Forrester (Plan B)

Ian Forrester (Plan B)

Credit: Reseller News

Plan B has acquired Solarix to strengthen capabilities across managed wide-area network (WAN) and networking solutions in New Zealand.

Reseller News can reveal that the business continuity specialists closed the deal on 1 May, bringing on-board 30 staff members in the process.

“This is a very complementary acquisition because Solarix brings strong expertise in managed WAN and networking,” Plan B managing director, Ian Forrester, told Reseller News.

“This complements our existing services of hosted infrastructure, cloud back-up, storage and archive, as well as national co-location, standby offices and ICT equipment, plus server recovery services.”

Forrester said Plan B customers will now have access to deepened expertise within the networking space, with Solarix clients also set to benefit from a widened portfolio of services and solutions.

“We now have a very comprehensive suite of services that we can offer our customers and our partners nationally,” Forrester added. “The focus is now to capitalise on the critical mass we have created to deliver more and better quality services to our customers.

“The most important thing we can do right now is ensure there is a seamless transition to the combined Plan B and Solarix.

“That means looking after our customers and our team to ensure that we are all better off following the acquisition and integration of both parties.”

Terms of the acquisition will see Solarix managing director and CEO, Flemming Rasmussen, support the business through a “mutually agreed” period, before transitioning to other opportunities.

Flemming has overall responsibilities for all entities of the Solarix Group, and directly and indirectly, is the majority controlling shareholder of the business.

“Flemming is supportive of the business and its future plans,” Forrester added.

From a logistics perspective, Forrester said that Solarix will also continue to trade under current naming for the “foreseeable future”, with no current plans in place to change the provider’s office locations across New Zealand, which span Auckland and Christchurch.

“There is no intention to move from the Solarix Auckland offices in the short-term,” Forrester explained. “At some stage in the future we will look to consolidate the North Shore offices to get the teams together.

“It’s business as usual for the Christchurch Solarix office and data centre with no planned changes.”

The Solarix business was founded in 2007, as one of the country’s leading bespoke managed WAN providers.

Fast forward six years and the company acquired the assets of Telco in a Box (TIAB) in 2013, in a move which allowed Solarix to enter the access and voice wholesale market through its Kiwitel brand.

A year later and the business completed the acquisition of Christchurch-based Unleash Networks, providing a strong foothold in the South Island before launching into network-as-a-service in 2016 through the launch of mysolarix.

Specifically, the customer portal allows customers to create, manage and view all Solarix services from a central console.

Key customers include Sanford, Focus Technology, Armourguard, Freshmax and Balle Bros, leveraging services expertise across cloud, security and mobility, as well as colocation, voice and on-demand networking technologies.

The acquisition comes more than two years after Plan B bought internet service provider ICONZ, in a move designed to create scale for the Auckland-based business.

As revealed by Reseller News, the acquisition - effective from 1 February 2016 - added to the company’s cloud, networking and data centre offerings across New Zealand.

Looking ahead, Forrester refused to rule out further mergers and acquisition (M&A) activity in the future, but stressed that such activity would be made on a case-by-case basis, and dependent on market demand.

“We are focused on creating value for our customers and delivering opportunities for our staff,” Forrester added. “To the extent that we find further opportunities that allow us to continue to do that, we will consider further opportunities.”

Founded in 1999, Plan B has taken home three consecutive Reseller News ICT Industry Awards, from 2015 until 2017.

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