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INTERVIEW - SoftOne Technologies working on expansion in SEE

INTERVIEW - SoftOne Technologies working on expansion in SEE Photo: SoftOne Technologies/All rights reserved.

SOFIA (Bulgaria), December 3 (SeeNews) - Greece-based business software company SoftOne Technologies, part of international investment group Olympia, is working on expanding its business in Southeast Europe (SEE), a senior company official told SeeNews.

The software group, which is active in the SEE region through its offices in Romania and Bulgaria, is now focused on entering North Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia, George Koulogiannis, International Business Development Director at SoftOne Technologies, told SeeNews in an e-mailed interview.

SoftOne Technologies, specialised in providing cloud-based ERP and CRM solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), will pursue international expansion as a major element of its core strategy more aggressively in 2020, after the completion of major investment deals and the subsequent takeover of two well-known companies in the field of business software.

The business software provider also eyes the US market, where it has established cooperation with partners in New York. It is also seeking opportunities in the UK and Ukraine.

SoftOne Technologies plans to enter the new markets with the help of its network of partners, bringing its partner-based business model and innovative services.

"Expansion through our partners' network is a slow but failproof process to penetrate the market. Our partners offer personalized support, but most importantly, expert guidance on how to utilize technological innovation to leap ahead of the competition," Koulogiannis noted.

In October, SoftOne Bulgaria, the local unit of SoftOne Technologies, said that it seeks to expand operations by growing its portfolio of partners. The Sofia-based company plans to cover the entire country and considers that the biggest Bulgarian cities such as Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas, Stara Zagora and Ruse provide a favourable ground for its business strategy, Yoannis Katsanidis, manager of SoftOne Bulgaria, said during a news conference at the time.

Koulogiannis did not say whether SoftOne Technologies is planning any acquisitions in Bulgaria and Romania in the next 2-3 years but noted that the group is constantly evaluating its options.

"Our expansion to other regions is a priority at the moment and for the whole 2020, but we are open to any opportunity that will create value for our customers," Koulogiannis said, adding that being part of a large consortium such as Olympia Group allows for rapid expansion and investments.

SoftOne Technologies considers that its software solutions of higher business value and lower prices will help it to get ahead of the competition in the SEE markets it wants to enter. The company finds strong demand for its services in Bulgaria and Romania, yet the business environment in the two countries differs and the group takes this fact into account.

"Romania poses different challenges compared with Bulgaria because of the different demographics, foreign investment, and size," Koulogiannis  opined.

Romania has been experiencing strong growth in the mid-market, represented by companies with revenues of 1-to-5 million euro annually, while the high street market demands custom solutions with large custom implementations, Koulogiannis explained.

"On the other hand, in Bulgaria we notice an unprecedented demand for mobility services and solutions. [...] It seems that Bulgarian businesses understand the value of cloud-based ERP and CRM solutions, and they want to extend this functionality outside the office by empowering their employees on the field," Koulogiannis added.

Revenues from operations in Bulgaria are expected to double in 2019, while earnings before interest, depreciation and amortisation (EBIDTA) margin is projected to reach about 9%. The revenues are also forecast to double in 2020, with a 21% EBIDTA margin, according to Koulogiannis.

Regarding operations on the Romanian market, the Romanian unit is projected to end 2019 with approximately 1.2 million euro ($1.3 million) in revenue, marking an annual increase of over 30%, while the EBIDTA margin is forecast at 18%.

SoftOne Bulgaria started operating in 2017 with a five-year investment plan worth some 1.5 million euro. The company's portfolio now includes 85 clients and 8 authorized partners.

In July, SoftOne Technologies said that in expects its 2019 turnover to exceed 20 million euro following the acquisitions of Greek software providers Unisoft and Prosvasis.

The group has a constantly growing customer base of over 47,000 clients in four countries - Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus.

($ = 0.90547 euro)