ASB Group Managing Partner talks expansion and M&A with Mergermarket

Jan. 8, 2019 Czech Republic

ASB Group, a Czech-based provider of accounting, tax, payroll and transaction services, could consider acquisitions in Central Europe to help it further expand, according to Managing Partner Petr Studnicka.

It could consider acquisitions in its existing markets such as Hungary to help speed up its growth, expand its client base and strengthen its market position. It is not holding talks with potential targets and any further acquisitions may be at least a year away, he said. All M&A would be handled in-house.

The company this year strengthened its Central European presence with the acquisition of Polish accounting and tax advisory services provider Taxplan for an unspecified amount and the opening of an office in Hungary. Taxplan had 20 employees at the time of the takeover.

ASB is focusing on organic growth in its Central European markets -- the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary -- and sees potential to grow further in those countries. It is consolidating the acquisition in June and the new office opening in May, the executive said. However, in the medium term it could consider widening its footprint to other parts of Central and Eastern Europe, potentially through M&A, the managing partner said. ASB previously looked at one unnamed Polish target, which was larger than itself and it could look at similar-sized targets. However, potential targets are more likely to be smaller than ASB, Studnicka said. Smaller deals would be financed through company resources while larger ones would probably be financed with the help of banks. It is too early to say how much could be spent on buys as there are no current talks, he said.

ASB is a professional outsourcing provider of accounting, tax advisory, payroll, company formation and liquidation, and trust management services. It also provides transaction-support services during M&A. Founded in 2002, the company has 200 employees, the executive said, declining to give financials. ASB is owned by individuals. ASB expects 2018 revenue of EUR 8m, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Its clients include real estate investors Reico, Stage Capital, REDSIDE and Goodman, retailers Pandora and Forever 21, and IT companies such as FNZ and D-ploy.

Its competitors include TMF and Vistra as well as Czech peers Tacoma and TPA, the managing partner said.

Before joining ASB in 2014, Studnicka was executive director in the Corporate Finance Department of Czech corporate advisory Patria Finance, responsible for M&A projects.

by Katka Krosnar in Prague