NCS forks out $239M for acquisition to tap growth opportunities in Australia

Singtel-subsidiary NCS has acquired The Dialog Group for AU$$325 million ($239.38 million) in a bid to better support customers in Australia and seek out new growth opportunities in the market.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

NCS has forked out AU$$325 million ($239.38 million) to acquire The Dialog Group in a bid to seek out new growth opportunities in Australia. The move is part of the Singtel subsidiary's expansion plans in the region and touted to boost its services portfolio.

The acquisition also is NCS' largest, to date, and will triple its local headcount to 1,300, said NCS in a statement Tuesday. 

Australia's largest privately-owned IT services company, Dialog has presence across seven cities in the country, including Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, and Brisbane. Its portfolio spans managed application services, IT consulting, and application development. 

NCS CEO Ng Kuo Pin said the size of the acquisition demonstrated the company's commitment to grow its business outside of Singapore, in particular, Australia, where parent company Singtel already had a strong presence. Local telco Optus is part of the group. 

The merger would pool Dialog's IT capabilities with NCS' Next digital services and boost the company's focus on cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), and data analytics, NCS said. It established Next more than two years ago to drive, what was then, a new focus on digital, cloud, and platform services. This, Ng told ZDNet at the time, complemented NCS' core services encompassing, amongst others, applications and cybersecurity.

With the Dialog acquisition, NCS said it now could better support enterprise customers across various verticals in Australia, including government, healthcare, transport, and financial services. Collectively, they would offer capabilities in 55 specialisations to support customers' digital transformation requirements, including cloud computing, NCS said. 

The company also operates a Next Innovation Centre in Melbourne, which will work with its counterpart facility in Singapore to jointly create and collaborate on initiatives.  

Ng said: "Dialog's commitment to clients and technology has made it one of the leading tech companies in Australia, serving both government and enterprise clients. This alignment of purpose makes Dialog a perfect fit. Our capabilities, talent, and reach will fortify and consolidate our position in Australia and help our clients and the industry meet the digital transformation demands of the future economy."

The acquisition was subject to closing conditions, including regulatory approvals, and expected to be completed within three months.

The announcement followed three other acquisitions NCS unveiled last September, which were pitched as a boost to the company's capabilities in cloud and data analytics as well as expansion in Australia and Greater China. Australia-based Riley was part of the trio, along with Singapore's ClayOPS and Hong Kong-based Velocity Business Solutions. 

NCS last October also acquired a majority stake in Australian cloud consultancy, Eighty20 Solutions, which it said would bolster support for customers Down Under in cloud, workplace modernisation, and business applications. 


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