Ipac Systems Ltd of Swindon, Wiltshire is a small data communications company climbing its way out of a difficult relationship with International City Holdings Plc which acquired it in 1985. International City, a firm of City moneybrokers, decided to dispose of Ipac following the October 1987 crash, when it considered it expedient to concentrate on […]
Ipac Systems Ltd of Swindon, Wiltshire is a small data communications company climbing its way out of a difficult relationship with International City Holdings Plc which acquired it in 1985. International City, a firm of City moneybrokers, decided to dispose of Ipac following the October 1987 crash, when it considered it expedient to concentrate on its core business. Two of Ipac’s directors, David Gill and Timothy Buff, put in an offer to buy their company, a deal which they pulled off in May. The company specialises in the design and supply of wide area data communications networks, but an unfortunate part of the buyout was the enforced rationalisation of the company under which around half of its staff were made redundant and its London office was closed. Nevertheless, Timothy Buff, who is looking at turnover of around UKP1m this year, is confident that he has managed to retain the engineering skills which his company requires to get back on its feet. The company sells its services across most sectors but at the moment it is particularly strong in the petrochemical, transport and financial markets. Current customers include Shell, Elf and BP, but Buff’s biggest catch so far is the ongoing two year UKP2m contract he has with London Regional Transport.
Local authority sector
Due for completion in the New Year, the initial phase of this deal is the linking up of London Transport’s engineering centres with its Central Computing Centre via an X25 network. As for the financial sector, Ipac has a joint venture agreement with NMW Computers Plc to provide the X25 engineering skills alongside NMW’s operational and control expertise (CI No 1,274). In the near future Ipac will be putting its private packet-switched network services together in a package called NetLink. Within this package customers will be able to select from network audit and design, product supply, installation and commissioning, ongoing maintenance and network facilities management. With NetLink, Ipac intends to target large organisations with offices spread across the UK, which probably have a small data processing department but don’t find it feasible to employ full-time communications specialists. Ipac would then work with the client’s data processing manager to implement and support the network required. Ideally Ipac would like to use this service offering to crack the local authority sector, but Buff acknowledges that this will be difficult until the company has a stronger marketing record. Because it is moving into the business of selling turnkey offerings, Ipac will be looking for further value added reseller agreements. So far it has a deal with Telematics (CI No 1,267) and tends to also use products from Dowty and the Philips-owned French company TRT. Buff says that Ipac’s prospect list has blossomed since the buyout and that he has bought in consultants to help develop a management strategy. If all goes according to plan he would like to see the company floated on the Unlisted Securities Market in five years’ time. – Katy Ring