Frost & Sullivan Award for Aastra

Aastra Technologiies, widely reported by analysts to have secured the number three position in the European comms market has received the Frost & Sullivan 2006 Growth Strategy Leadership Award in recognition of its outstanding performance in 2005 in the European enterprise telecommunication market.

“Ranked third among the leading enterprise telephony vendors in the European market, Aastra supports a comprehensive portfolio of products, systems and applications for building and accessing communication networks,” notes Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Shomik Banerjee. “Currently, the company offers a wide range of analogue, digital and IP solutions that include communication systems, servers, gateways, telephone terminals, wireless products (DECT, WiFi) and software applications.”

Aastra witnessed extensive growth between 1996 and 1999 and occupied a leading position in providing a wide range of devices to support telecommunications companies’ network features in North America. These included caller ID, call waiting and distinctive ringing, among others. Over three million units of caller ID devices were shipped by 1999 and the company was ranked the leader in North America in terms of market share.

Since 2001, the company has made strategic investments in the European enterprise telephony market, garnering a market share of 9.65 per cent in terms of shipments, to emerge as the third largest vendor by market share. Aastra presently accounts for about 17 million installed lines in Europe and its growth has been marked with strategic acquisitions and the timely restructuring of these acquired businesses in order to return them to sustainable levels of profitability under Aastra’s business model.

“One of the key factors influencing Aastra’s growth is its management,” remarks Mr. Banerjee. “Aastra, with its effective restructuring strategy, has been consistently successful in applying its business model to restructure faltering businesses. The company’s focus on financial discipline through streamlined and efficient operations, controlled costs and management of distribution has been pivotal in its success.”

With several acquisitions across various segments and technologies in the enterprise telephony market, Aastra has acquired rights to a range of products ranging from analogue telephones to IP PBX in the last five years. Beginning with the acquisition of the Nortel analog telephone business, it has grown to enter the European PBX market with acquisitions of the Ascom’s PBX division (2003), EADS Telecom (2005) and DeTeWe KG (2005). By and large, most of these acquisitions have been complimentary in nature so Aastra has been able to grow substantially without much overlap in its operations.

In addition to significant growth through acquisitions, Aastra recorded a natural growth of 9 per cent in 2004 followed by currency-adjusted growth of 15 per cent in 2005. Aastra continues to focus on maintaining a high level of competitiveness and is investing heavily in R&D to adapt to the evolving needs of enterprises. To this end, more than 9.5 per cent of its funds were devoted to R&D in 2005.

The company’s R&D efforts are currently concentrated on the implementation of VoIP technology, which is the recognised future for the telecom equipment market, particularly in relation to networks, terminals, and wireless solutions.

“We are very honoured to receive this award. The success of Aastra’s growth is only made possible by the hard work and support of our employees and the trust accorded to us by our customers” responds Tony Shen, Co-CEO of Aastra. “We feel the momentum is there for Aastra and we are ready for more. We will continue to explore acquisition opportunities and we will also grow organically”.

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