Reply S.p.A. acquires avantage (UK), a Risk and Finance Consultancy operating within the field of Financial Services

4 February 2011

Reply S.p.A. - listed on the STAR segment of the Italian Stock Exchange [REY IM] - has consolidated its presence in Europe with the acquisition of 51% of the shares and 90% of the voting rights of avantage (UK) Limited (“avantage”), a United Kingdom registered company specialising in the Financial Services market within the areas of risk, treasury and capital management, and financial performance management.

avantage, with offices in London, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, and Luxembourg, counts among its clients some of the world’s most significant financial groups including well known and respected organisations in the banking, insurance and asset management sectors.

avantage was established six years ago and has grown rapidly by helping its clients respond to increasing regulatory requirements and new business initiatives. It closed the last financial year (figures as of September 30th, 2010) with a turnover of GBP£10.7 million and an EBT of GBP£2.4 million.

On acquisition the company has no financial debt.

The total value of the purchase price for 51% of the shares represents a Reply investment of GBP£6.9 million, which is broken down into two tranches with an initial payment of GBP£4.8 million paid in cash on signing the Sale & Purchase Agreement and a further GBP£2.1 million paid in three years’ time.

Reply also has the option to exercise a right to purchase the remaining 49% of the capital at the end of 2013.

The acquisition of avantage confirms Reply’s interest in developing its European footprint, including further expansion in the UK market where it has been operating since 2008 with Glue Reply and, where, throughout the last year, it has launched a number of start-ups specialising in Telecommunications, Financial Services, Digital Communication, and Supply Chain Execution.

avantage will significantly add to Reply’s product and service offering in the risk management and regulatory compliance segment; areas in which, thanks to synergies with other Group companies, Reply now boasts one of the leading practices specialising in risk, treasury and capital management, and, financial performance management in Europe.

Mario Rizzante, President of Reply, commented: “Alongside avantage, our Group has high level specialist skills in presently one of the fastest growing areas within Financial Services, in part as a result of the investment required by increasingly stringent regulations, such as Basel III and Solvency II.

Mario Rizzante continued: "The creation of a centre of expertise in risk, finance, treasury and capital management undoubtedly represents a very important strategic positioning for the continued development of our Group in Europe, and avantage is an important addition with which to complement our existing offering."

Martin Clark, CEO of avantage, said “avantage was established with a vision to help our clients further improve their risk and finance infrastructure and to provide our people with an opportunity to develop their careers on market leading programmes and projects. We owe much of our success to our loyal clients and people. We believe that Reply will enable us to further build on this initial success and do this in a way that leverages the strengths of both organisations to continue to meet our valued client and our people’s expectations.