19/10/2004 - 22:00

Workfocus looks offshore

19/10/2004 - 22:00

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Perth-based injury management consultant Workfocus has prepared a small war chest and is eyeing off expansion opportunities nationally and overseas.

Workfocus CEO Rob Gordon said the unlisted public company had not paid a dividend to its eight shareholders in the past 12 months, choosing instead to build-up cash reserves for possible expansion opportunities.

The company is pursuing opportunities in other Australian States while consolidating services and market share in those where it already operates.

The company is also investigating the UK and US markets for possible expansion.

“We are confident with our systems and the approach that we have to our staffing and resourcing will work in the UK market and the US market,” Mr Gordon said.

 Workfocus was established in 1989 by Mr Gordon and company director, Cynthia Davis. The non-executive chairman is Brent Stewart, head of the Telstra 2004 small business of the year, Market Equity.

The business now provides professional services in injury prevention and management, which make up about 90 per cent of its business, and an employment service, through a contract with the Federal Government’ $1 billion Job Network scheme, which makes up the remaining 10 per cent.

In the past five years Workfocus has grown aggressively, resulting in a significant increase in staff numbers (160 staff) and a five-fold increase to revenue, taking it to almost $11 million.

Mr Gordon said the company’s expansion into the eastern States and diversification into the Federal Government’s Job Network scheme had been key to its growth.

NSW alone accounts for 50 per cent of the national workers’ compensation market.

He said the company was keen to foster that momentum and expand further. This could occur by organic growth, through a joint venture, or by acquisition.

Mr Gordon said that on a national level organic growth was tough and seemed to favour the possibility of acquiring another provider, such as an insurance company’s injury management operation.

Mr Gordon said Workfocus, rather than opening up any new offices in the next two years, was instead looking to “gear up its existing operations for maximum potential”. 

“2003 was an aggressive year, in terms of establishing new offices we set up Mirrabooka, Melbourne and Orange,” he said.

Mr Gordon said the UK and US markets also offered potential growth opportunities.

In the UK, Workfocus is investigating the government based-schemes similar to the Australian Government’s Job Network scheme.

The company unsuccessfully tendered for a program with the UK Department of Work and Pensions last year, however the program is still being developed and will be rolled-out in 18 months.

Mr Gordon said he would look at tendering again at this time.

On opportunities in the US Mr Gordon is more reserved.

He said while Workfocus remained confident its product would work there, any moves are well down the track.

He said the company was exploring a number of acquisition or joint venture opportunities in the UK, a joint venture was vital in the US market.

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