Basware acquire German e-invoicing provider

It’s not the Finnish way to shout about things too much (see our Finnish joke, here), and this was proved last week when Basware, P2P and e-invoicing specialists, acquired First Businesspost, GmbH, a German e-invoicing company.

To be perfectly honest, we didn’t hear about it till yesterday, which you can put down to our lack of market awareness or the fact that Basware didn’t exactly hire dancing girls to shout about it from the roof of the Stock Exchange in Helsinki.

FB (as we’ll call them) are “one of the fastest growing and most innovative e-Invoice networks in Germany”.  They’re particularly strong in the automotive sector with customers including Audi, BMW, Daimler, MAN and Volkswagen. They’ve also got a decent customer base in retail, and have “major customers also in other industries like Deutsche Telekom and Union Invest across multiple European countries including Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Poland”.

FB’s revenues were around EUR 2.4 million last year, they’re growing at 25% annually, and EBITDA was EUR 0.5 million.  Basware have paid EUR12.2M including taking on some debt – so that’s some five times revenue they’ve paid, which is a pretty full price by industry standards.

But we’re into a game of consolidation and land-grab in the supplier networks / e-invoicing market now, and anyone with strength in a particular geography or market, even if they’re fairly small in total size, is likely to be under scrutiny from the major players like Basware, Ariba and GXS – not to mention SAP and Oracle. Indeed, this move appears to parallel Ariba’s acquisition of b-process in France not long ago.

And the price will look reasonable if Basware can achieve product extension driven growth amongst the current FB client base, and enhance their current offering through the FB  technology – their supplier on-boarding solution is apparently particularly strong.   As the press release says,

“With this acquisition Basware will become the leading e-Invoice operator in Germany and will further expand its global presence.... The synergy benefits of the new business combination are primarily derived from accelerated growth potential. Basware will be taking 1stbp (FB) technology into its offering - accelerating and simplifying the global delivery of e-invoicing for suppliers and strengthening Basware's existing offering to suppliers”.

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