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November 29, 1998


By CBR Staff Writer

Kewill Systems Plc, the Surrey, UK-based ERP and e-commerce software and services company, is buoyant after its interim results and expects better over the next six months from its e-commerce strategy. Kewill, which saw revenues rise 42% to 27.5m pounds last week (CI No 3,547), was particularly encouraged by the 47% revenue growth, to 6m pounds, in its e-commerce division, according to Geoffrey Finlay, Kewill’s CEO. Kewill’s Logistics division, recently bought Marlborough, Massachusetts-based Tracer Research Inc for 11.7m pounds (CI No 3,528). Finlay expects this purchase to provide the link between its logistics division, which concentrates on Oracle-based warehouse management applications, and the e-commerce section. This is because Tracer’s Clippership EDI product automatically generates the documents between the warehouse and the carriers, such as FedEx, UPS, DHL and RPS. The TracerX tool allows companies to integrate warehouse systems and allow them to exchange data. Finlay sees the recent tie up between Deutsche Post and Securicor for a pan-European parcel management service as another sales opportunity for the TracerX tool. Tracer is not the final acquisition Finlay has planned and he is in talks with companies with a view to bolstering the logistics division, ERP section and the e-commerce divisions of Kewill. All the companies are based in the US or Europe, Finlay refused to name them as negotiations were still ongoing. The company has focused for much of its 25-year history on providing manufacturing resource software, with accountancy modules to smaller companies. The ERP division still provides 34% of Kewill’s revenues and is used in 8,000 sites. In the last six months Kewill has sold 124 new systems, as against 170 for the whole of 1997, and expects margins to recover as the implementation revenues is carried through to the next half. Kewill’s ERP division sells packaged software for Microsoft’s NT platform and SQL databases are sold by telesales to tier three, SME, clients. They typically cost 40,000 to 70,000 pounds. Finlay claims that he is not unduly worried by the impact of the large ERP companies, SAP, Baan, Oracle and Peoplesoft, moving down the food chain. He hopes to use the ERP and once-again profitable German CAD/CAM design base to sell its e-commerce systems in Germany, France and America. The US contributes 40% of Kewill’s revenues and has 200 of its 600 employees in its Boston and San Francisco offices.

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