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Trade and logistics company Kewill acquire software group Minihouse

Kewill plc (LSE: KWL) ("Kewill" or the "Group"), a leading provider of solutions that simplify global trade and logistics, announces the acquisition of Minihouse1, a BeNeLux-based software group specialising in the provision of IT software that helps businesses automate customs compliance across Europe. Minihouse was the first European software provider to adopt a software as a service ("SaaS") model for the delivery of customs solutions. This has resulted in Minihouse developing a strong recurring revenue base and consistent growth since its foundation in 1998. Minihouse has offices in Heerenveen (The Netherlands) and Antwerp (Belgium) with a customer list that includes Cargill, Lyondell, Corus Staal BV, Wärtsila, DB Schenker, CEVA Logistics, Philip Morris and DSV. Minihouse’s founder Ronald de Vries will remain as its Managing Director.

Paul Nichols, CEO of Kewill, commented: "I’m delighted to announce the Minihouse acquisition, which strengthens our European customs proposition and further expands our international global trade coverage in line with our vision and strategy. Minihouse has taken a lead in its home market of the Benelux region and through Kewill’s international coverage we will now be able to attract more global companies that require a full Benelux customs offering as part of a total solution."

Nichols continued: "Minihouse offers its products in a fully hosted environment and their Software as a Service (SaaS) business model is consistent with Kewill’s desire to offer its customers more flexible payment options including monthly subscriptions and transaction based pricing. The acquisition therefore reinforces Kewill’s business strategy to continue the strong growth we have achieved over the last five years in recurring revenues. Minihouse is our first acquisition following our fund raising in November and we continue to look for quality software businesses within the global trade and logistics sector that will expand our solution footprint and geographical coverage."

The automation of customs compliance has rapidly become a mission critical consideration for corporations as global trading becomes increasingly important and as regulation and compliance procedures become ever more complex and onerous. It is an area where Kewill has made significant investment in the past, both in terms of R&D and acquisitions such as TradePoint in the US in 2004, CSF in Germany in 2006 and IPACS in South East Asia in 2007.

Kewill sees a continued and significant opportunity in the future, both on a stand-alone basis and as part of the broader Kewill global trade and logistics offering. For example, in Europe with the upcoming rollout of new customs legislation including the Excise Movement Control System (EMCS) and the Import Control System (ICS) this acquisition will position Kewill to be able to service the needs of its European as well as global customers.

In the area of global trade, Kewill’s strategy is to cover the highest volume import and export markets such as the US, Germany, Singapore and now the Benelux region with its own applications, while partnering with solution providers in other markets to deliver a truly global solution. Kewill delivers a ‘one-stop-shop’ for companies that need to interact with customs bodies in multiple countries through its CustomsXchange initiative. This program sees Kewill integrating multiple, country focused customs systems through a messaging hub which allows customers to have a single partner and single point of connectivity – Kewill. This model significantly reduces the complexity of doing business globally.

In addition to enhancing Kewill’s existing customs software offering and domain expertise in the Benelux customs space, this acquisition also provides a strong cross selling opportunity for the wider Kewill global trade and logistics suite into the Minihouse customer base.

Ronald de Vries, founder of Minihouse, stated: "We are delighted to be joining a company of Kewill’s stature in the global trade and logistics software market. We will provide Kewill with a proven track record of delivering software across the Benelux region to a customer set that is at the core of Kewill’s strategy. Increasingly our customers are looking beyond Benelux for solutions that address their international compliance and logistics needs, and we believe that becoming part of Kewill will enable us to offer increased value to these customers as well as Kewill’s existing customers."

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