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Esteem Systems bosses ponder selling themselves

Just happen to be standing about in this shop window

Top brass at mid-market channel player Esteem Systems are reviewing future options and may again begin a formal process aimed at selling the operation.

The business was almost sold to integrator Calyx in 2008, but the acquirer's backer Anglo Irish Bank pulled the funding as credit availability was swallowed up in the crunch.

Joe Connolly, CEO at Esteem, would not reveal the name of the last "buyer" it had "shaken hands with" but confirmed the firm is again evaluating the situation.

"We are not necessarily looking to go fully to the market," he told The Channel. "We are considering all our options but not actively talking to anyone at this point".

And with a decent set of financials just filed at Companies House, albeit for the year to 30 June 2012, it seems like a good time for the Wetherby-based reseller-cum-integrator to put itself in the shop window.

Turnover for the last full financial year grew 7.4 per cent to £25.4m with 30 per cent related to product reselling, 20 per cent from consultancy and 50 per cent derived from hosting and managed services.

Not bad considering the downwards direction of many other channel operations, and in an era when flat is almost the new growth.

EBITDA - the fashionable accounting term in the tech industry these days - grew to £3m from £1.85m in the previous twelve months.

Net profit for the period climbed 32 per cent to £1.56m helped in no small way by a near 20 per cent reduction in total admin expenses to £3.8m. Headcount fell to 73 people from 86 in the previous year.

A £4m dividend was paid to parent company Esteem Holdings, the filing revealed.

Esteem is backed by Primary Capital which holds a 61 per cent stake - bought back in 2004 when Connolly, a former MD for Synstar Europe, was brought in as head honcho.

Connolly told us that in fiscal '13 Esteem has 200 employees, run rate sales are closer to £35m and EBITDA is in excess of £3.5m. ®

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