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Navman wireless says trading strongly despite sales process


Thursday 26th July 2007

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A division of Auckland high tech firm Navman that was recently bought by a Chicago-based private investment firm, says it has traded strongly despite a protracted sale process.

Prairie Capital, which bought Navman Wireless, comprising around a third of the original company sold by US marine products company Brunswick, said it had virtually doubled its local head count to 80 in the last year.

Auckland-based vice-president of product delivery, Chris Bradley, said business had never been better and the company was growing in all its markets, especially in New Zealand.

The New Zealand operation is largely responsible for the development of fleet-tracking Global Positioning Systems (GPS).

Bradley, previously with Navman in the US, heads New Zealand-based development.

Prairie Capital has over $US500 million ($NZ630 million) invested in 60 businesses.

The marine assets of Navman were sold in March to Norwegian firm Navico International, which hired 260 of the 280 New Zealand staff in that division previously employed by Brunswick.

Bradley said that, like all New Zealand firms, the high currency was providing its challenges and squeezing margins. However, it received a natural hedge by purchasing many components in US dollars and had still managed to build markets.

There was no plan to shift operations elsewhere.

He said the global investment in the wireless division had been significant and continued through the whole sales process.

"If anything it's probably taking up speed."

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