Seasoned industry man joins Genasys Technologies

18 July 2007 Genasys Technologies

Experienced financial services sector investor, Gavin Routledge, has been appointed to the board of Genasys Technologies, a Stellenbosch-based IT company whose leading management and customer information system for the short-term sector Software Key for Insurance (SKI) is sold locally and in the United Kingdom.

Routledge, the chairman of JSE-listed Clientele Life Assurance Company Limited and previously on the board of Hollard Holdings (Pty) Limited, African Bank Investments Limited and Melville Douglas Investment Management (Pty) Limited (a subsidiary of Standard Private Bank), has extensive experience in the insurance industry.

He has committed to spend considerable time working with Genasys' directors and management team to positively influence its business success going forward and to assist with strategic direction and networking both locally and internationally. Routledge has also made a significant equity investment in the Genasys Group.

Commenting on his decision to join Genasys, Routledge said he was initially attracted to the company because of the quality and passion of the owner-managers, who he believes really understand the market in which it trades.

Also impressive is their enthusiasm and openness to new approaches and new thinking, and their approach that places a high value on product quality and client service, sometimes at a cost to Genasys in the short term, he said.

"Genasys has created a system that is flexible and user-friendly, and provides a platform to engineer solutions to business problems rather than just an electronic means of recording and retrieving data.

"This feature is of great value to users, particularly in the light of the fortuitous hange in legislation and regulation which has required a much greater level of sophistication in the recordkeeping and reporting of providers of financial services.

"SKI effectively allows Genasys users to not only comply with the new legislation but provides the tools to significantly enhance their efficiencies and decision-making capabilities.

"This factor has been recognised, not only in the South African market, but also in the UK where there is growing interest in SKI. I intend to utilise my network of contacts and my industry expertise to take advantage of that interest and grow Genasys' footprint in that market," he said.

Routledge has been involved in mergers and acquisitions and the structuring of financial transactions since 1982. His interest in what happened after the deal and the value that could be added on an ongoing basis led naturally to a passionate interest in private equity and the specialised area of managing the complex inter-personal relationships that flow from negotiating an investment and then becoming an active shareholder.

"I have been involved actively in private equity since 1992, a fascinating array of negotiations not all leading to an investment and investments since that time both in South Africa and in other areas of the world. Here, my past experience in cross-border transactions, international financial transactions and tax has been extremely useful.

"These investments have spanned a number of different sectors but have always been in sectors which I understood and felt I could add significant value independent of funding capital and have also always been in companies where I have found a common ethos and passion in the owner-managers.

"My methodology of investing has been to always be prepared to examine any new opportunity with an open mind, to invest a couple of hours in talking to the owner-managers to understand the opportunity, to assess the 'space' in which the company operates, to get a feeling for the potential 'gap' the company intends to exploit and to get a feeling for the passion of the management team, their understanding of their segment of the market and their ethos. If I am able to tick all those boxes, then and only then, will I look at the business plan, forecasts and information on funding requirements in order to assess whether this is an investment opportunity that I wish to pursue.

"This approach is not shared by most other private equity investors who want to see a proposal incorporating a business plan, financial projections, past financial statements and so on before agreeing to a first meeting.

"However, it is an approach which is comfortable for me personally and which I have found to be effective the proof being in having made more successful investments than unsuccessful ones! I am pleased to say that even in investments which I regard as unsuccessful, I believe I have been able to add significant value. I hope to add very significant value to Genasys and fully intend that this will be one of my more successful investments," he said.



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