ICL Plc’s three-year-old network-integrating subsidiary Workplace Technologies Ltd has fled the nest following a management buyout funded by UK venture capital company 3i Group Plc. Workplace, which started life as ICL’s building services department, has grown into a fully-fledged network integration company, with profits for the year to December 1994 up 41% at ú2m on […]
ICL Plc’s three-year-old network-integrating subsidiary Workplace Technologies Ltd has fled the nest following a management buyout funded by UK venture capital company 3i Group Plc. Workplace, which started life as ICL’s building services department, has grown into a fully-fledged network integration company, with profits for the year to December 1994 up 41% at ú2m on turnover up 21.5% to ú35.7m on the previous year. Managing director Andrew Vaughan said the buyout team is the same team that built and grew the company to its present levels, and he and his team have big ambitions for its future growth. We felt that the company was ripe for some major investment, said Vaughan, and he said that ICL, while keen to maintain a close relationship with Workplace, did not view it as core to its business – its name makes it sound like a desktop software company, but it actually stands for the men in boiler suits that lay the network wiring through your ceiling or under the floor. ICL was therefore not likely to invest the sort of money that Vaughan and his team felt was necessary to take the company forward. Vaughan would not say how much the management had paid for Workplace, nor what its target was for future growth, but said it was very ambitious. He said Workplace was one of the few network companies currently able to manage several multi-million pound projects concurrently, and the plan was to establish Workplace as the market leader in network systems integration. The company currently employs 120 staff, around 50% in project management and support, with 10 people dedicated to computer-aided network design, and the remainder in network management, post-sales support, consultancy and sales. It provides a complete range of services from cabling to network software management for both local and wide area networks, and will even sort out air conditioning and fire security systems if required. It has offices in five UK locations, owned by but separate from ICL, and Vaughan says the message is business as usual: he does not envisage any changes as a result of the buyout. Workplace recently won a contract, due for completion in 1997 to design and install a network at Hong Kong’s Chep Lap Kok airport as part of a ú10m contract awarded to ICL Enterprises. It will install fibre optic and Category 5 structured copper cable to enable waiting passengers to watch a range of commercial cable television programmes. It has also been awarded a contract by Strathclyde Regional Council, the largest local authority in Europe, worth up to ú1m over two years, to provide a network supporting 500 remote offices in the region, and has just secured the second stage of a city-wide corporate network for Manchester city council worth ú280,000, having successfully completed the first phase earlier this year. ICL is keen to keep a close relationship with Workplace, which will be its preferred networks supplier, which should give Workplace considerable comfort while it goes out to woo those companies that would not previously have wanted to do business with ICL.