Venture buys Singapores GES for $618m

Singapore, July 26 | Updated: Jul 27 2006, 05:30am hrs
Venture Corp agreed to buy GES International Ltd for as much as S$980 million ($618 million), its biggest acquisition, allowing the contract electronics manufacturer to enter the $5 billion cash-register market.

Venture, which makes products for customers including Hewlett-Packard Co., will pay S$1.25 for each GES share, the two Singapore-based companies said in a joint statement on Wednesday. The price is 19% more than Tuesdays closing price for GES, whose customers include International Business Machines Corp.

The purchase will give Venture CEO Wong Ngit Liong factories making point-of-sale machines and new customers for its computer-related products. Wong, who has bought stakes in DMX Technologies Group Ltd and Scinetic Engineering in the past year, is trying to narrow the lead of bigger rivals such as Flextronics International and Solectron Corp.

Venture has built up a cash war chest, said Wong Kok Hoi, managing director at APS Asset Management Pvt, which oversees $2.8 billion in assets, including Venture shares. The acquisition will provide them with the platform to grow.

Funding will come from Ventures S$800 million of cash as well as borrowings, CEO Wong said at a media briefing in Singapore.