CEB unveils international expansion plans

Fresh from its listing on the Jordan stock exchange, 125-strong systems integrator CEB has unveiled its plans for international expansion.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  April 27, 2006

Fresh from its recent listing on the Jordan stock exchange, 125-strong systems integrator CEB has unveiled its plans for international expansion. Saudi Arabia tops Group CEB’s expansion agenda as the company attempts to develop new sales opportunities for its extensive software and services offerings. Ayman Arafeh, general manager at Jordan-based CEB, said: “We are raising capital to finance our international expansion. If you look at regional statistics, Saudi Arabia accounts for something like 55% of the IT business in the Arab world so that is a logical starting point for us. We are also targeting other countries showing strong growth potential such as Qatar and Sudan.” Representing a number of major vendors in Jordan including HP, Acer, Bull, Nexans, Symantec and ISS, CEB has also carved out a strong reputations as a developer of software solutions for the banking and insurance sectors. The company also works in the document management and workflow arena. “90% of our US$8m turnover in 2005 was generated in Jordan with only 10% from international business,” continued Arafeh. “We see significant room for improvement here and we are targeting sales of between US$10m and US$12m in 2006. In 2005, hardware accounted for 55% of revenues, software contributed 27% and services 18%. Our ultimate goal is for revenues to be evenly distributed between these three activity areas.” Due to limitations on the geographic resell rights that CEB holds for its hardware portfolio, software and services will be the main initial focus for the international expansion plan. CEB will look to emulate the brand equity it has achieved in the Jordanian market within the new territories that it now hopes to expand into. “The Jordanian market is small yet very competitive,” explained Arafeh. “In the last few years we have consistently won large tenders with the Ministry of Education, supplying between 12,000 to 14,000 Acer PCs a year. Acer was the main bidder on these projects but CEB was subcontracted to provide all the service requirements associated with the projects. Last year we signed a five year maintenance contract worth approximately US$6m with the Ministry of Education to provide IT-related services.” CEB intends to set up sales, marketing and services operations in its new target markets but will keep its main development centre within Jordan. Arafeh claims that Jordan offers excellent human resources and reasonable costs. He believes that CEB’s listing on the stock exchange will also help the company attract the best local talent — especially if the company starts offering employees stock options. “We expect to have an operation up and running in Saudi Arabia within six months,” added Arafeh. “We also plan to expand our operations in Jordan adding two more branch offices in addition to the three that we already have. We are also improving our own internal systems in areas such as finance, administration, HR and marketing.” “I think it is the dream of any company in general and the dream of any IT company in this region to float on the stock market. Now that we have done this and started raising capital we are looking forward to expanding CEB’s business across the region,” he concluded.

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