AF Chief Wistroem Targets ’Big’ Acquisitions in Current Markets

AF AB (AFB), a Swedish technology consulting company, may make acquisitions in any of the 20 countries in which it is currently present as it seeks to double annual sales to 1 billion euros ($1.39 billion) by 2015.

AF is working through its acquisition list, focusing mainly on a “few, big” acquisitions, Chief Executive Officer Jonas Wistroem said yesterday in an interview in Stockholm. A firm with 500 employees would be a “rather big” purchase, he said.

The company announced five acquisitions last year, including Prague-based Meacont, which focuses on the energy sector. AF has a target to increase sales by an annual 15 percent on average until 2015 of which half is to come from acquisitions. Last year, total sales decreased 7.4 percent to 4.33 billion kronor ($681 million). With many potential targets now on the market, the company’s current cash and credit lines would allow purchases worth a total of 1 billion kronor, Wistroem said.

“Acquisition prices are pretty high right now,” Wistroem said. “We are always discussing potential targets but most of the time it doesn’t lead anywhere.”

The biggest growth opportunities will likely come within infrastructure consultancy services in Sweden and the energy area in Eastern Europe. This doesn’t rule out acquisitions in other areas, Wistroem said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Janina Pfalzer in Stockholm at jpfalzer@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Angela Cullen at acullen8@bloomberg.net.

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