In 1997, we invested in Synergon, a leading Hungarian provider of IT services encompassing systems integration, enterprise resource planning and financial software development.
At the time of our investment, Synergon was Hungary's largest domestically owned provider of systems integration and related consulting services, certified by firms such as Cisco, Cabletron, Hewlett-Packard, Newbridge and other leading hardware manufacturers. Created by the merger of two leading IT businesses with complementary skill sets and clients, the newly merged business immediately captured an estimated 20% market share with a predominately blue-chip client base including large Hungarian banks, the national PTT and utility companies. Operating in a fast growing but undersupplied and fragmented market, Synergon was extremely well positioned to capitalise on a market growing at over 20% per annum. Against competition polarised around large foreign multinational companies (IBM, DEC, HP, EDS and Andersen) and local players, Synergon's strategy was to position itself as a credible local alternative providing a "one-stop-shop" for customers covering all IT segments from network design consultancy to hardware supply, software applications, installation and maintenance. Post investment, we helped the business make two acquisitions and invested further capital in order to finance the company's continuing growth. In 1999, two years after our investment, Synergon floated on Budapest stock exchange - the first IT services provider to be listed in Hungary - valuing the company at $120m.