Quint focuses on international expansion

Synergia and Van Lanschot Participations invest in IT consultancy firm Quint
20-03-2014 10:09 | By Rik Sanders http://www.computable.nl

Quint Wellington Redwood is a leading global independent consulting firm dedicated to resolving IT-related organizational challenges. Operating in more than 49 countries and across four continents, Quint provides strategy, sourcing and service management to leading organizations from all industries, creating and implementing best practices worldwide.

Quint Office

Quint the Netherlands

Two shareholders of Quint Wellington Redwood have been bought out by a number of other shareholders. In doing so, they received financial support from the investment companies Synergia and Van Lanschot Participations. With this additional support, Quint wants to further expand its consultancy portfolio and international position with an emphasis on delivering added value. Maurice Boon has become Chief Executive Officer of the Quint Wellington Redwood Group. Arno IJmker has become Managing Director of Quint Netherlands.

The management buyout was completed last year. On the first of January the “new” Quint started with a management board, which included Frank Grift as CFO besides Maurice Boon. Grift was one of the founders of Quint twenty-two years ago, left quint for ten years and returned two years ago. Next to Frank Grift, also Roelof Douwstra is one of the founders still active in the company.

 Adding value

“Last year there was a difference of opinion about the strategy between the two shareholders and other shareholders within Quint. At the end of 2013, this led to a management buyout, in which the two shareholders, René Hagen and Hans van Herwaarden, left” says the new CEO Maurice Boon. “Where the two wanted to grow through acquisitions and the opening of new country offices, the other shareholders chose to focus more on organic growth.  They want to create new customers within the existing Quint countries.”

Maurice Boon

Maurice Boon

“Rather a limited number of prestigious assignments, in which we can deliver substantial added value than new countries and a lot of assignments with lesser added value” according to Maurice Boon. “The two former shareholders wanted to grow as fast as possible to a company of thousand men and turnover of a hundred million Euros. Our vision is to be a ‘boutique firm’, which is positioned within its niche, just below management firms like McKinsey and where we can compete with companies like IBM, Accenture, Capgemini and KPMG. The big difference between Quint and those companies is that they are more volume-oriented organizations, while our reward is directly related to the results we achieve for our customers”

Additional funds were required to finance the management buyout. That support was found at Synergia, an investment company that has participated before in Quint from 2004 to 2010. Synergia took along a second investor: Van Lanschot Participations.

Arno IJmker

Arno IJmker

“They are not cowboy investors, who want to cash quickly, both companies focus on the long term” emphasizes Arno IJmker, the new Managing Director at Quint Netherlands (and successor of Maurice Boon). “This is in line with the vision of Quint. Moreover, it is a good sign that Synergia is willing to invest again: the company feels Quint is an interesting firm with a good return”  Arno IJmker highlights that the majority of the shares are owned by the management and will not fall into the hands of third parties. “We have explicitly agreed on this”.

Consultancy and training

“Quint is an important niche player in the market of IT and Management, and particularly focusing on challenges around sourcing, governance, information management and IT Performance” according to Arno IJmker. “In the Netherlands we say Quint, but abroad we call ourselves the Quint Group. The Netherlands provides a solid base, with around hundred active consultants. Our growth potential lies abroad. In the recent years we have supported our colleagues abroad, based on our best-practices and now we are active in countries such as: Belgium, Italy, Spain, the United States, Mexico, India, Malaysia and Japan.

Next to Quint consulting, which focuses on  IT-management challenges, Quint Academy focuses on training for IT professionals. In about forty countries where Quint has an own office, Quint works with licensed partners who may use the Quint solutions and training material to deploy to their own customers. We are a solid organization with a healthy EBIT. In the Netherlands we are one of the largest organizations in our niche; abroad we are smaller and able to grow faster.”

Boutique model

Quint expects to grow autonomously. The firm believes less in growing through take-overs. “Why would you take over a company with twenty-thirty people?” Arno IJmker says. “Often, such a business does not fit with the specific business culture of Quint. Of course, when something comes in your path, like when we took over a couple of employees and customers of Synotion after this company was declared bankrupt, we will not shy away from that.”

Maurice Boon points out that for Quint sufficient growth can be realized within the Netherlands. The layered boutique model with consultancy and academy serves as a strong base for other countries to be copied. “In Spain for example we have grown with about 50 percent, despite or because of the crisis, with our sourcing and Lean consultancy services. We are considering expanding to Spanish-speaking countries in South-America such as: Argentina, Peru and Colombia.”

“Growth in major European countries such as France and Britain is less obvious. Quint is active in those countries in the context of international projects. In France, clients prefer working with French consultants, while the British consultancy market is quite saturated. Germany is still doubtful. The country is not one market, but consists of attractive regions around Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Munich.”

Cubical-fear

Maurice Boon prefers to focus the energy on the short term in the development of the North-American market, which is much more open and where Quint is able to continue growth. “IT service management in the US has not been embraced like it has been in the Netherlands or Britain. At businesses in the US, a strong cubical-culture with fear for the boss-on-a-distance and departments not working quite well with each other exists. We try to change that culture by showing other ways of working in customer-centric processes, where better results can be realized.”

“Our strongest point is, according to Maurice Boon, a mix of entrepreneurship, expertise and common sense. No thirty-page contracts filed with escape clauses, but putting our knowledge and experience in practice with an open mind to realize substantial results for our customers.”