Grupo Gowex CEO Garcia Plans Acquisitions, May Buy Back Shares

Grupo Gowex (GOW), a Spanish provider of outdoor Wi-Fi wireless services, plans to acquire one or two companies in Europe or Latin America this year and may buy back shares, Chief Executive Officer Jenaro Garcia said.

Gowex, whose suppliers include Telefonica SA (TEF), France Telecom SA (FTE)’s Orange division and Jazztel Plc (JAZ), will invest as much as 16 million euros ($23 million) of cash to buy businesses, Garcia said in a telephone interview. Madrid-based Gowex may use stock to make acquisitions, he said. Share prices have fallen worldwide this year because of the debt crisis, reducing prices for buyers.

“We want to use our liquidity position to take over companies whose valuations declined due to the worldwide crisis,” Garcia said. “There are now lots of businesses to buy in Europe and we don’t rule out buying back shares this month.”

Gowex was founded 1999 by Garcia and operates in at least 15 countries. It provides Wi-Fi access in public squares, streets, kiosks and buses in cities including Madrid and Buenos Aires. The company has won five projects this summer in Argentina, Brazil and Chile, Garcia said. The company’s revenue climbed to 49.6 million euros last year from 35.2 million euros in 2009, according to Bloomberg data.

“We’re on the right track to meet our target of 65 million euros to 70 million euros in revenue this year,” Garcia said. “We will actually be in the mid- to high-end of the range and margins are increasing through all business lines.”

Gowex shares trade in Spain and France. The stock climbed 39 percent this year before today to 4.65 euros in Madrid, giving the company a market value of about 60 million euros.

To contact the reporters on this story: Manuel Baigorri in Madrid at mbaigorri@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Angela Cullen at acullen8@bloomberg.net; Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net

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