SP500: AVI-SPL Ramps Up International Expansion


AVI-SPL, one of the top-ranked audio/visual integrators and MSPs in the country and a Solution Provider 500 stalwart, has opened new Canada and United Kingdom offices as part of an aggressive international expansion.

"AVI-SPL has more customers in the Fortune 500 than anyone else in this space," John Zettel, AVI-SPL's CEO, told CRN in a recent interview. "We felt that to adequately and completely serve those customers, we needed a stronger presence in international markets."

Tampa-based AVI-SPL, which ranked No. 47 in the 2012 Solution Provider 500 with $550 million in revenue, now has offices in London, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto.

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The bolstered Canada presence comes from an acquisition of assets from Montreal-based integrator Duocom, the company said Tuesday. It adds to AVI-SPL holdings in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and the company already does business in 19 countries and with about 700 vendors.

James Shanks, who joined the company from Verrex in November, is now AVI-SPL's managing director for the U.K. headquarters. Meanwhile, Zoreena Abas, previously general manager at Duologik Solutions, is heading AVI-SPl's Eastern Canada offices.

AVI-SPL was itself formed via M&A, following the merger of Audio Visual Innovations Inc. (AVI) and Signal Perfection Ltd. (SPL) in 2008. The company is majority-owned by investor giant Silver Lake, and its businesses include everything from integrated UC to digital media.

In the past two years in particular, AVI-SPL has sought to broaden its purview beyond its A/V integration roots and into services-centric businesses with richer margins. Part of that's been through acquisition; a year ago, it acquired a fellow solution provider, Iformata, to significantly bolster its managed services arm.

Overall, about $40 million of AVI-SPL's revenue was services in 2011. That increased by 50 percent in 2012 to hit $60 million, Zettel said.

The international business will add to AVI-SPL's top and bottom lines, executive said, but the expansion will also allow the company to better serve its multinational customers.

"For a lot of these big market opportunities, you can't just look at the customers as U.S.-based customers doing business in other locations," said Doug Carnell, executive vice president of operations. "Our locations are headquarters, and we'll do our purchasing from there in those markets."

Zettel and Carnell didn't commit to whether 2013 would see more AVI-SPL acquisitions, but Zettel said "we're always looking for good opportunities."

PUBLISHED JAN. 8, 2013