Thursday, August 8, 2013

Ausenco acquires PROJEX Technologies

MAXIMA provided Transaction Advisory Services to Ausenco to assist them in their acquisition of PROJEX Technologies. Congratulations to everyone involved!

From Ausenco's news release:

Ausenco Limited (ASX: AAX) today announced it had acquired Canadian oil sands business PROJEX Technologies to grow its Energy business and expand its offering in Canada’s oil sands market.

Ausenco CEO, Zimi Meka, said the acquisition provided Ausenco with broader and complementary Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management service capabilities in Canada’s high growth oil sands industry and was part of the company’s strategy to significantly grow its Energy business.

"We remain committed to growing our Energy revenues both organically and through further acquisitions that enhance our global solutions offering to our clients," he said.

"The global energy market is significantly larger than the global minerals and metals market and we are focussed on capturing a far greater share of this market.

"The acquisition of PROJEX strengthens our presence and expertise in the North American oil and gas market and complements our acquisition of Reaction Consulting in early 2012.

"Canada’s oil sands contain the third largest proven reserves of crude oil in the world and Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) has forecast production to more than double by 2022. The ERCB estimates that capital expenditure in 2012 in the Canadian oil sands market was $20.4 billion, which is expected to increase to $23.4 billion in 2015.

"Ausenco has a strong competitive advantage, a full lifecycle service offering and a broad oil sands industry client base. We can now service all phases of oil sands projects from Evaluate phase studies through to Create phase EPCM delivery.

"PROJEX offers a complete suite of end-to-end engineering and development services, specifically tailored for in-situ oil sands recovery and heavy oil customers and has a successful track record in delivering projects of all sizes with specialist expertise in small to medium brownfield projects.

"In-situ SAGD projects are the fastest growing method of oil sands production and this growth is driving demand for experienced mid-sized contractors who can deliver small to medium size projects." PROJEX has a strong order book, a solid pipeline of tender opportunities and operates with seven of the top oil sands producers in Canada. The acquisition price of $15.2 million represents a multiple of 2.9 times anticipated 2014 full year EBITDA of $5.2 million. The acquisition will be immediately earnings per share accretive and synergies between PROJEX’s and Ausenco’s current businesses are expected to deliver significant operating cost savings."

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Justification for Your Next Vacation

A recent survey by The Sellability Score found companies that would perform well without their owner for a period of three months are 50 percent more likely to get an offer to be acquired when compared to more owner-dependent businesses.

There is no better justification for taking a blissful, uninterrupted holiday than to see how your company performs in your absence. The better your company runs on autopilot, the more valuable it will be when you’re ready to sell.

To gauge your company’s ability to handle your absence, start by taking a vacation. Leave your computer at home and switch off your mobile. Upon your return, you’ll probably discover that your employees got resourceful and found answers to a lot of the questions they would have asked you if you had been just down the hall. That’s a good thing and a sign you should start planning an even longer vacation.

You’ll also likely come back to an inbox full of issues that need your personal attention. Instead of busily finding answers to each problem in a frenzied attempt to clean up your inbox, slow down and look at each issue through the lens of a possible problem with your people, systems or authorizations.


Start with your people and answer the following questions:
  • Why did this problem end up on my desk?
  • Who else is qualified to answer this question and why was that person not consulted?
  • If nobody else is qualified, who can be trained to answer this question in the future?

Next, look at your systems and procedures. Could the issue have been dealt with if you had a system or a set of rules in place? The best systems are hardwired and do not require human interpretation; but if you’re not able to lock down a technical fix, then at least give employees a set of rules to follow in the future.


You may be a bottleneck in your own company if you’re trying to control spending too much. Employees may know what to do but do not have any means of paying for the fix they know you would want.

For example, you could put a customer service rule in place that gives your front line staff the authority to make a customer happy in any way they see fit provided it could be done for under $100.

You might allow an employee to spend a specific amount with a specific supplier each month without coming to you first.  Or you might give an employee an annual budget, an amount they can spend without seeking your approval.

Given the fires that may need to be extinguished after the fact, taking a holiday may seem more of a hassle than it’s worth. But if you transform the aftermath of a vacation into systems and training that allow employees to act on their own, you’ll find the vacation is worth what you paid for it many times over: your company will increase in value as it becomes less dependent on you personally.


Wondering if you have a sellable business? Contact the MAXIMA Group for a consultation. We focus on privately held companies with annual revenues of $3 million to $60 million. We also advise larger public and private companies on buy-side engagements.