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BSS (inc. billing, revenue assurance)

WeDo Seeks APAC Takeover Targets

Portuguese revenue assurance expert WeDo Technologies is on the hunt for a suitable acquisition target in South-East Asia to help fuel further growth following a better than expected 2012. (See EuroProfile: WeDo Technologies.)

The company, which is wholly owned by mobile, technology and media empire Sonaecom, today reported 19 percent year-on-year growth in revenues to €55.1 million (US$71.8 million), with about half of that growth attributed to the acquisition of Connectiv Solutions in May 2012. (See 4G & Video Drive SPIT Acquisitions.)

EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) for 2012 was €8.7 million ($11.3 million), an increase of 55 percent compared with 2011.

Now the company, which has about 180 customers and 500 staff, wants to bolster its presence in South-East Asia (preferably Indonesia or Malaysia) to help it reach its target of $100 million in annual revenues by the end of 2015, though finding a suitable takeover target in that region is not easy, the company's Chief Marketing Officer Sergio Silvestre tells Light Reading.

There's plenty of opportunity for organic growth too, though, according to the WeDo team. It believes that about 20 percent of communications service providers (CSPs) still don't have revenue assurance tools as part of their Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) suite and another 20 percent are still using various bespoke in-house tools that have not been developed for the modern communications environment. (See From Revenue Assurance to Revenue Optimization.)

There are also opportunities through partnerships, though WeDo's CFO Fernando Videira notes that, while the company has good relationships with large IT players such as IBM, it is not WeDo's style to develop entrenched channel sales relationships and that any third-party business would be "opportunistic" and incremental to the company's sales targets.

Then there are opportunities to pick up new business where rivals have run into difficulty. While WeDo has managed to prosper in recent years, others have not: For example, Connectiva Systems was finally acquired by IT services firm Mara-Ison Technologies in 2012 following a problematic few years and is now Mara-Ison Connectiva Ltd. (See Connectiva to Be Acquired.)

WeDo claims the sector has been suffering from some aggressive pricing that is "unsustainable" and which, in its view, may lead to further market consolidation. Other companies active in the revenue assurance market include cVidya Networks Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., Lavastorm Analytics, Subex Ltd. (which has experienced some financial challenges in the past year) and Teoco Corp.

Low-balling on price doesn't seem like a tactic the WeDo team would entertain -- it wouldn't want to compromise its margins by engaging in price wars when it has a decent customer base and a credible pitch for potential new customers. So it's likely that as service providers, and mobile operators in particular, encounter new revenue retention challenges in a data services-dominated sector, WeDo will be one of the core group of revenue assurance specialists that will survive and thrive. (See LTE Could Add to Leakage Woes.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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