Bevan’s bouncing baby boy: NEXTDC lists today


Bevan Slattery’s new datacentre venture NEXTDC today listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, with investors ploughing bids into the market at prices as high at $1.60, representing a substantial premium on the price paid by those who bought into its prospectus over the past several months — a single gold $1 coin.

The company also late last week revealed the biggest shareholders who already own parcels of the company. Founder Bevan Slattery (who also founded, listed and eventually sold successful fibre wholesaler Pipe Networks) owns 50 percent of the company, with 40 million shares.

After that there is a substantial list of institutional shareholders on the company’s list, who may have bought shares for their own parent companies (such as banks, for example), or be holding them for private shareholders. Financial giants such as the National Australia Bank, JP Morgan, HSBC, UBS, Citigroup and so on are some of the names on the list, while company directors like Symantec’s local chief Craig Scroggie have picked up parcels of 250,000 shares.

In a statement this morning, NEXTDC noted it had commenced trading under the ticker code “NXT” at 10AM, with the company’s chairman Roger Clarke describing its board as being “excited” by the reality of becoming what he said was the nation’s first ASX-listed dedicated datacenter provider.

“I would like to congratulate everyone involved in the IPO process including NEXTDC staff, its advisers including Moelis & Company, RBS Morgans, Clayton Utz and PricewaterhouseCoopers and, most importantly its institutional and retail shareholders,” said Clarke.

NEXTDC has already won its first customer, executing a heads of terms agreement to provide 1,000 square metres of datacentre space to local company Harbour MSP at its planned new Melbourne datacenter space, which is slated to be completed by November 2011. Another datacentre in Brisbane is planned to go online in March 2011, while a third Sydney site is “on track” to be announced in March 2011.

However, Slattery’s new company will face a slew of renewed competition in the local market for datacentre services in 2011 and beyond.

Japanese IT services giant Fujitsu, for example, several weeks ago opened what it billed as the nation’s most advanced datacentre in Perth, and the AustralianIT has reported that HP has recently confirmed plans to invest millions of dollars in a major new facility in Sydney’s Eastern Creek. And that’s not all — Global Switch has also confirmed a significant new facility in Sydney, where it already hosts a massive datacentre.

For its own side, however, NEXTDC looks to have thumbed its nose slightly at Global Switch, for one, recently poaching one of the company’s most senior and most loyal technical executives, Asia-Pacific technical/construction director Gordon Paddy to be the new general manager of Facilities Management at NEXTDC.

Paddy has been involved with Global Switch since 2000 in various roles, including as a contractor, and aided in the construction of the company’s flagship Sydney datacentre — one of the largest in Australia.

Slattery has also nabbed a variety of ex-PIPE Networks executives to help fill out his NEXTDC team; including former PIPE International chief operating officer Brett Worrall, who was responsible for building the company’s PPC-1 submarine fibre cable to Guam, former PIPE chief financial officer Robin Khuda, former PIPE chairman Roger Clarke, and even Greg Baynton, the managing director of Orbit Capital, who also sat on PIPE’s board.

Image credit: Delimiter