Datatec buys Asia-focused NetStar for $19,8m

South African IT company Datatec has stepped up its expansion into Asia by buying privately owned networking firm NetStar for $19,8-million.

Chief executive Jens Montanana said the deal, to be funded in new shares, gave the group a regional platform spanning from Australia to Singapore and Hong Kong, and a toehold in mainland China.

“They have 50 people in China, mainly in Shanghai, but that’s a decent stepping stone for us,” he said in an interview on Tuesday.

Datatec, also listed in London, had swooped on the firm because it was clear market conditions were getting better.

“We’d looked at it two years ago at a much higher price—30% to 40% higher,” he said. “We took advantage of the reset value expectations in the eyes of the seller, Baring Private Equity Partners in Asia.”

Montanana said the deal took the company about a third of the way towards its expansion target for its infrastructure division, Logicalis, in Asia, and he was eyeing further acquisitions in 2010.

“We are focusing on Asia and resources-rich countries: Brazil, Canada, Australia,” he said. “We believe these countries will have superior growth.”—Reuters

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