As suspected IFS has started on the acquisition trail in 2016 following the private equity investment in 2015. It has acquired MainIoT Oy from Solteq Oy in a debt free purchase of around €7.4 million. MainIoT turned over around €5 million in its last year with profits of around €0.6 million (EBITDA roughly 25% of revenue). This seems a fairly high multiplier at 8.3 but the purchase seems a good fit for IFS and although there is some deferred payments based on revenue the purchase was made with cash.
Culturally the two companies should be a good fit, and it seems unlikely that there will be many of the 40 staff rushing to leave the smaller Finnish company. MainIot develops software solutions for Enterprise Asset Management, Enterprise Service Management and Master Data Management solutions selling into the Finnish energy, process, manufacturing and service industries.
What is not clear however is what the future of the software itself will be. While IFS will be pleased to get some of the well known companies such as SSAB, Caverion, Neste, Gasum, Empower and Maintpartners within its portfolio the press release does not indicate how or when the two product lines will be merged or whether they will be kept separate.
Fredrik vom Hofe, Group Senior Vice President Business Development at IFS may give an indication though when he commented: “With the acquisition of MainIoT, IFS can be seen as executing on its stated strategy for growth. MainIoT is very well positioned within our focused high growth segments of Enterprise Asset & Service Management, and will both strengthen our offering and helps us consolidate the important Finnish market. In addition, IFS will be able to leverage on MainIoT’s capabilities within ”Industrial Internet of Things” – an area where we actively work on developing our offerings”.
IFS sees the importance of IoT within the manufacturing market especially. It was one of the significant trends for 2016 that Antony Bourne raised during our interview with him in December 2015. In purchasing MainIoT IFS is purchasing a company with software and expertise that can in time enhance the IFS offering to all its customers.
With offices in Helsinki and Tampere it will be interesting to see whether both of these are retained, or whether IFS will merge their operations in Espoo with MainIoT in Helsinki. Tapani Pohjonen, IFS Finland CEO, commenting on the acquisition said: “IFS has been very successful in recent years within the Finnish Enterprise Asset Management & Enterprise Service Management market. Through this acquisition we further strengthen our business in these focus markets and bolster our team with highly accomplished professionals who will help us further enhance the service we offer IFS and MainIoT customers. We warmly welcome all new colleagues and customers to IFS”.
This is not a huge acquisition and while it is not completely clear what IFS intends for the MainIoT software there is certainly a synergy between the two companies. MainIoT certainly fits better within IFS than it did within the Solteq umbrella and being part of a larger organisation will give some of its employees opportunities for career progression that they might not have had before