03.12.2019 | Bulgaria

S&T Group - the power of synergy

October 24, 2019 In Dresden, Germany, S&T AG signed a purchase agreement to acquire AIS Automation GmbH. The agreed purchase price amounts to approximately EUR 13 Mio., all business areas and of approximately 140 employees

The transaction is subject to antitrust approval in Germany and is completed at the end of November 2019. For S&T AG, the acquisition is a further strategic step in the expansion of its IoT Solutions business in the Industry 4.0 area and expands the corresponding software competencies and capacities of the S&T Group. AIS is a software company that has been specialising in the development of innovative and flexible software solutions in the field of automation technology for over 25 years. In 2018, AIS generated revenues of around EUR 12 Mio. and value-accretive profit margins compared to the S&T Group. Hannes Niederhauser, CEO of S&T AG: "I am delighted that we were able to conclude such a highly synergistic deal with the AIS acquisition. The portfolio fits perfectly into our current IoT software and services offering for IoT and Industry 4.0. The acquired software products and highly qualified engineers of AIS will significantly strengthen our IoT Solutions business. This results in high synergies and cross-selling potentials for the entire S&T Group."

Bulgaria is one of the first countries, with Slovakia and Ukraine, where S&T started its business in 1993. Other branches were established over the next few years in Romania, Moldova and Yugoslavia. In the early years, S&T specialized in the sale of IT hardware and software, as a Full Function Distributor for Hewlett Packard but they turned their focus to IT consulting and services from the year 2000. S&T's initial public offering took place on the EASDAQ (now NASDAQ Europe) in 1998. Following on from this, the company grew by setting up branches and through the acquisition of other companies. In 1999, for example, S&T expanded its presence into Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia by purchasing Hermes Plus. Not long afterwards, the branch in Slovenia was strengthened by the takeover of e-business company ICOS. S&T also set up a branch in Hungary that same year.

From 1999, S&T became involved with the sale of medical products and is now Philips’ exclusive distribution partner for medical products in Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Moldova, Romania and Slovakia. To break into this sector, the company purchased HP's medical products business unit. Medical Systems Business, as it was called at the time, was taken over by Agilent Technologies when HP split into two companies in 1999. In 2002, Agilent sold the medical business unit to Philips. The two smallest business units in this sector (Chemical Analysis and Electronic Testing and Measuring Systems) were sold again one year later. The company gained a branch in the Ukraine with the acquisition of Soft-Tronik in 2000, and acquired one in Poland by purchasing Largo Systems. S&T founded S&T International in Russia in the same year. In 2001, S&T bought Aster in Slovenia, INNET in Hungary, Neos Computer in the Czech Republic and Netway Computer Systems in Romania. In 2002, they expanded further into Latvia and Montenegro and also into Turkey with the takeover of Protek. Epsilon in Croatia and Atlantis in Slovenia were taken over in 2003, as were Fujitsu Services branches in six countries. S&T moved from the EASDAQ to the Vienna Stock Exchange in the same year.

The purchase of ITS Intertrade Sistemi d.o.o. in Slovenia took place in 2004, InfoNET Project d.o.o. in Croatia in 2005 and 2006 saw a total of four takeovers: S&T purchased the IT activities of T-System in Turkey, took over Unitis in Hungary, the Grall Group in the Czech Republic and BEELC in Poland. In the same year, S&T withdrew from the markets in Malta, Greece and Switzerland. A few months later, Switzerland became part of the S&T group of enterprises once more, when S&T took over the SAP consulting company IMG The Information Management Group in spring 2007. The US subsidiary of IMG was sold again in September 2007. Announced on October 3, 2012 was the merger between the S&T and the Quanmax groups, with the latter taking over the former. The merger was concluded on December 12, 2012. It entailed S&T System Integration & Technology Distribution AG’s being merged into Quanmax AG, which was subsequently renamed S&T AG. S&T entered the smart energy sector in 2014. To do such, S&T took stakes in Networked Energy Services Corp. (“NES”) and in Affair OOO, and purchased ubitronix system solutions GmbH. On September 19, 2016, S&T AG's stock was incorporated into the Frankfurt Stock Exchange’s TecDAX index.

In October 2016 S&T acquired the IT market customers segment of Austria's Raiffeisen-Informatik group. These customers comprise those not belonging to the Raiffeisen group and served by its Raiffeisen IT one. Its portfolio of services include computer center and SAP operation, and, as well, consulting and software development, with the latter being in the area of collaboration management software. In 2017, S&T took a stake in Kontron, a Germany-headquartered manufacturer of embedded computers. The purchase was predominantly financed by Foxconn, the Taiwan-headquartered provider of commissioned manufacturing services. Foxconn took a nearly 30% stake in S&T AG. On August 17, 2017, Kontron was merged into S&T; “Kontron” is being maintained as a brand.

Today, the group has approximately 5 000 employees in 30 countries and is a global provider of IoT 4.0 technologies and a regional IT provider. Manufacturing cooperation and IoT cooperation with Foxconn is in progress. There is an alliance with Microsoft and Intel for Industry 4.0 Cloud Solutions. Macroeconomic situation: Eastern Europe grows stronger than Western Europe in the “IT services” segment. “Iot Solutions Europe” segment drives profitability. “IoT Solutions America” upswing in USA ongoing. S&T AG is Listed in Frankfurt and is a member of the TecDAX® & SDAX®. Kontron countries are on three continents in industries, transport, medicine, smart energy systems, communications, avionics.

The strategic synergism has a deep positive impact on the S&T business, especially in periods of volatility. The long-standing practice of cooperation and interaction is a proof of awareness of synergy as an invisible asset, providing sustainability and growth for the group.