IVE: Celebrating A Century Of Success

IVE: Celebrating A Century Of Success
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Australian marketing and communications group IVE is celebrating a century in business this year. That’s right, the ASX-listed company has turned 100!

It all started in 1921 when Oscar Selig returned from World War 1 and set up a local newspaper in Balmain which he called ‘The Link’.  Since these humble beginnings the business evolved into IVE, and today Oscar’s grandson, Geoff Selig, is the executive chairman. Selig’s father also dedicated his working life to the company, which makes it a third-generation family business.

Founder, Oscar Selig, 1921.

                 

IVE famously pivoted from being a printing company in the 1990s to diversifying into the holistic marketing group it is today.

It’s a strategy that’s paid off and has seen the company report EBITDA of $100.2m exceeding guidance, off revenues of $660 million, earlier this year. This is a big jump from the turnovers of around $30m in the 90s.

Executive Chairman, Geoff Selig, said: “In the 90s, we could see where our sector was headed. We could see it was going to go through a huge amount of change and we could see that just staying in printing was going to leave us exposed.

“It is the push and pull really. Our clients were asking us to do more for them, whilst at the same time we saw the opportunity to lead our clients into other areas, and we seized it.”

Executive Chairman, Geoff Selig, 2021.

So, IVE pivoted and began to provide its clients with a full-service integrated offering which is something the company has continued to build on.

“Ultimately, it was, and still is, about evolving and developing an offer that remains relevant with our clients’ ever-changing requirements in the marketing and communications space,” said Selig.

The strategy behind IVE’s long track record of success has been a combination of organic growth – that’s seen IVE move into logistics, creative services, integrated marketing and web-offset printing – and a disciplined acquisition program.

“It’s been a natural progression,” Selig explained.

IVE’s acquisition program has seen it expand into data-driven personalised communications, customer experience, marketing automation, retail display and digital publications, creating a marketing company that covers the breadth of the marketing and communications sector. The company now has 2,800 clients that cover Australian and global brands across a range of sectors.

Going public in 2015 was a culmination of that change. Selig explained: “Ultimately the listing of the company enabled us to expedite and amplify our expansion.”

The growth IVE has experienced over the last ten years, with Selig at the helm, is undeniably exciting. Selig told B&T, “When we listed on the ASX in 2015, that was a real turbocharge of our offer.”

Paul Selig, Gordon Selig, Geoff Selig 2015.

IVE has found continued success through the COVID pandemic by applying the same formulas and structures as it did 20 years and 100 years ago. The company values their people and the experience of its long-time workers. It believes in a customer-first philosophy, which is why it prides itself in offering customers a diversified value proposition.

It focuses on always maintaining a strong financial position that provides staff, clients and suppliers with security. It continually looks ahead and invests in its asset base and operations.

“People and culture,” said Selig. “Treat people well and look after people. As my father used to say, you can’t buy discretionary effort.”

Group CEO, Matt Aitken, 2021.

             

Group CEO, Matt Aitken, said: “I believe we acted in the right time frames during COVID. I don’t believe we pursued something that hasn’t worked out, I’m comfortable we made the right decisions.” 

Selig added, “we were across every nook and cranny of the business. We didn’t have any control of revenue from our clients, but we worked out how to respond, that we had to continue servicing our customers.”

Their strategy has paid off. A snapshot of IVE’s financial year results for 2021 was:

  •  $100.2m EBITDA exceeding guidance off $660m revenue
  •  EPS jumped 8.4 per cent
  •  Reduced debt by $60m (to $77m)
  •  Declared a fully franked dividend of 7 cents per share (8 per cent net yield).

Importantly, IVE’s solid financial performance and continued high cash generation over the last two years has resulted in latent balance sheet capacity, which underpins its drive to continue growing.

IVE, Homebush, NSW. 2021.

The company has earmarked $30m-$40m for the next stage of its strategic roadmap and expects to see a range of attractive opportunities over the next 12-24 months.

Aitken said, “Ongoing diversification and growth is key. The companies strategy and investment philosophy continues to be disciplined, focused on businesses that align with IVE’s core competencies, and delivering sustainable earnings growth.”

Impressively, IVE remains acutely aware of the hard work employees put in to keep the company thriving. Aitken added: “As part of a thank you to our staff, we are giving 500 shares each to every staff member. That’s a sign of our gratitude and thanks to them, over the last 18 months.”

IVE is looking forward to a company-wide celebration when circumstances permit. In the meantime, Selig concluded: “I’m really proud of what my grandfather Oscar, my father Gordon, my brothers Paul and Graham, and I have achieved over the last 100 years.

“We couldn’t have done it without our wonderful people, who today remain core to the underlying resilience and strength of our business.”

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