Baan Faces Sale By Parent Company

Dutch ERP software developer expects to remain strong in discrete manufacturing sector.

The owner of enterprise applications developer Baan is looking to sell the company.

London-based technology conglomerate Invensys PLC earlier this week announced a major restructuring, saying it will concentrate its resources on the companies in its Production Management business, except for Baan. It plans to sell Baan, which has some 6,000 customer sites around the world, as well as the companies in its Development division and part of its Rail Systems division.

Ed Daihl, president of Baans strategic business unit, said it wasnt clear if the company would be bought outright or if Invensys would retain an investment. Regardless, he expected users of the companys iBaan solutions to be unaffected.

"In one sense, it is a net no-change for us. While being owned by Invensys we focused on complex, discrete manufacturers—enterprises that focus on making products," Daihl said, in a call from Baan headquarters, in Barneveld, Netherlands. "We already have a plan in place to go down the road."

Baan executives have been calling customers to assure them and answer questions, Daihl said.

"The feedback from customers has been positive, they dont seem to be concerned," he said.

Baan offers a broad suite of enterprise applications including ones for standard ERP (enterprise resource planning), customer relationship management, product lifecycle management, supply chain management, business intelligence and business process automation. It also offers its OpenWorldX application integration software.

Daihl said his company had talked to a few potential investors but declined to name them. Earlier this year, Invensys said it would have to write off a large part of the $714 million it paid for Baan in 2000. Invensys will include a valuation of Baan in its next financials announcement on May 29, Daihl said.

Daihl claims that Baan is stronger today than when Invensys bought it.

"The value that we add to [customers] bottom line and in increasing [customer return on investment] is something that is happening today and will be happening tomorrow," he said. "Were not going away."