Vox Tele­com on an ex­pan­sion drive

Finweek English Edition - - INSIDE -

VCEO of Vox Tele­com ox Tele­com is tak­ing big bets on ac­qui­si­tions and fi­bre roll­out as part of a f ive-year strat­egy to make the com­pany more com­pet­i­tive and ag­ile.

The com­pany, which was delisted from the JSE’s AltX in 2011 af­ter a R500m buy­out by share­hold­ers in­clud­ing Lereko Metier Cap­i­tal and Investec, of­fers voice so­lu­tions, data ac­cess and in­ter­net ser­vice provider (ISP) ser­vices, cloud ser­vices, a va­ri­ety of PABX (pri­vate au­to­matic brand ex­change) and video con­fer­enc­ing ser­vices, tele­phony man­age­ment sys­tems, fax­ing and text mes­sag­ing ap­pli­ca­tions. PABX i s an au­to­matic tele­phone switch­ing sys­tem used by cor­po­rates.

Af­ter the with­drawal of an ex­ploratory process to sell the busi­ness (started in July last year), Vox de­vel­oped its f iveyear strat­egy this Jan­uary. There­after, the com­pany’s share­hold­ers pro­vided the man­age­ment of Vox Tele­com with a war chest to rein­vent the busi­ness and com­pete ag­gres­sively.

CEO Jac­ques du Toit says the strat­egy is based on four pil­lars: dou­bling the sales team, ac­qui­si­tions, get­ting into other prod­uct streams and au­to­ma­tion.

“The mo­ment we start see­ing trac­tion and suc­cess in the cur­rent strat­egy… I think that the war chest will have the abil­ity to grow a lit­tle bit, but our role now is to show our share­hold­ers that our strat­egy is pay­ing div­i­dends,” he says. The size of the “war chest” has not been dis­closed.

The ul­ti­mate aim is to en­sure that Vox Tele­com de­liv­ers su­pe­rior ser­vices and prod­ucts to its cus­tomers, en­abling it to max­imise share­holder value.

As part of the strat­egy, on 22 July Vox Tele­com made its foray into the lu­cra­tive fi­bre-to-the-home (FTTH) and fi­bre-tothe-busi­ness (FTTB) sec­tors by ac­quir­ing Frog­foot Net works, a n ISP. The ac­qui­si­tion of Frog­foot for an undis­closed amount will has­ten Vox Tele­com’s move into the fast-grow­ing fi­bre mar­ket. This will al­low the com­pany to de­ploy fi­bre to cities such as Bloem­fontein, Mma­batho, and Polok­wane, al­low­ing it to ser­vice close to 80 precincts.

Du Toit is still on the look­out for more buys. “We’ve got another 13-odd com­pa­nies on the radar. That list ex­pands and shrinks on a daily ba­sis, be­cause the most im­por­tant two as­pects for us are whether it [the com­pany be­ing tar­geted] sup­ports our ver­ti­cal in­te­gra­tion strat­egy and, se­condly, whether it al­lows us to di­ver­sify,” he ex­plains. Last Oc­to­ber, Vox Tele­com bought Two IT and Com­puter Ini­tia­tives, which pro­vide spe­cial­ist con­sult­ing in Mi­crosoft Dy­nam­ics and busi­ness ap­pli­ca­tions. In June, the com­pany also bought Wish­list Cor­po­ra­tion, mak­ing Vox Tele­com one of the largest Mi­crosoft Dy­nam­ics part­ners for the mid-mar­ket in South­ern Africa.

Du Toit says the com­pany is talk­ing to “one or two more com­pa­nies as well” to ex­pand its con­sult­ing and in­te­gra­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Vox’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions unit of­fers a “phe­nom­e­nal and ex­cit­ing road ahead”, Du Toit says. In July, it used this unit to launch a f irst to mar­ket un­capped voice pack­age in ar­eas where it is rolling out FTTH. “We will very shortly be launch­ing a con­verged, un­capped voice, PABX and video con­fer­enc­ing bun­dle for the cor­po­rate mar­ket,” he adds.

“The ul­ti­mate aim is to pro­vide so­lu­tions that will en­able our cus­tomers to be suc­cess­ful. If the cus­tomers are suc­cess­ful i n t heir busi­nesses, Vox will also be suc­cess­ful,” he ex­plains. “What’s easy is that, from a share­holder per­spec­tive, we know what needs to be done. The ex­ec­u­tive is crys­tal clear on what needs to be done.”

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