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February 24, 1994

ACT REORGANISES FINANCIAL ACQUISITIONS TO MAXIMISE THEIR EFFECTIVENESS

By CBR Staff Writer

ACT Group Plc, based in Birmingham, is reorganising its three financial software divisions from April 1 under a central operating board. As over 50% of its sales are now made internationally, this change is an effort to create a single worldwide corporate identity with one product strategy, and to streamline the points of supply to customers. The three divisions in sum have annual sales of 150m and employ 1,700 people. The board will supervise overall strategy and investment decisions and profitability. To effect the new single identity, ACT Kindle is to be renamed ACT Banking Systems and will concentrate on marketing financial products to emerging financial centres such as the Middle East and Eastern Europe where its current strengths lie. BIS Banking Systems will become ACT International and will sell into established international Fmarkets, while ACT Financial Systems will focus on sales and support in the UK. A second board will also be established to concentrate on long-term worldwide product development strategy. It plans to set new technical standards in the next three or four months to fulfil this synergy. The firm accepts the current overlap between some of its products – notably the Citydesk and DR One information distribution and management systems for dealing rooms and front office users, which the company will work to assimilate. In other areas the firm sees product benefits from the reorganisation: the open Bankmaster product is not AS/400-compliant whereas the Midas product is, so sales staff will be able to broaden potential sales areas. Paul Newton, the newly appointed executive director of the groups’s main board, argues that this is an offensive move to focus on ACT’s strength in financial systems. The firm believes the move will enable it to take on the competition worldwide in the niche of financial software, whilst the idea behind not merging the three divisions completely is to preserve the individual strengths of each. The Group currently has 1,000 clients worldwide and will now be able to focus on the potential 19,000 clients available. ACT says that at present, further acquisitions are unlikely, save perhaps those to obtain specific products, and there are plans to sell non-core activities in the near future. Earlier this year the group sold ACT Cablestream to Siemens AG of Germany for 5.0m, Brann Marketing subsidiary to a management buyout group for $5.0m.

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