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A business consultancy, based in London, England, John Sacks' JSA Consultancy Services provides expert, in-depth, information advice and guidance as to how to exploit successfully the office furniture and interiors markets in Europe, North America, Australasia and Japan.

Floating Dirtt - on the Toronto Stock Exchange

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Mogens Smed, the serial entrepreneur who established the high design office furniture company, Smed and in the 1990s, grew it to a sales level of $300m before selling it to Haworth, is now planning to float his latest venture, Dirtt.

So when DIRTT, the demountable walls company announced last week that it would move to an initial public offering through the Toronto Stock Exchange, it certainly attracted the attention of many in the industry.
Smed founded DIRTT when his non-compete clause with Haworth expired and named his new company "Doing It Right This Time."
Last week, the filed a preliminary prospectus with the securities regulatory authorities in Canada in connection with a proposed initial public offering of its common shares for total gross proceeds of $45 million. For the next month, Smed and DIRTT President Scott Jenkins will go on what they call "a roadshow" to push the IPO forward.
The IPO will allow DIRTT to further invest in ICE and its product development. DIRTT calls ICE a video game for design with brains for business. ICE is the software that runs DIRTT's business, a system that provides graphical, interactive exploration of design while behind the scenes instantly calculates the parts, pieces, connections and pricing. Ultimately, that information goes to the DIRTT factory where the walls are precisely manufactured without human interpretation.
There is a symbiotic relationship between the specification of the walls, software and factory that makes DIRTT unique among wall manufacturers. It allows DIRTT to take on projects that would be too complex for other manufacturers. It also gives DIRTT the opportunity to take on wall projects that would be too small for major manufacturers to chase. The average job size for DIRTT is about $70,000. But when that is multiplied out by hundreds and thousands of jobs, it quickly adds up.
One of the company's biggest markets is healthcare, Smed said. He said the company has a 2,000 bed facility under contract in Saudi Arabia alone and many new accounts coming online every week.
The company does not want to compete in the furniture market, which Smed calls "a race to the bottom." Instead, it is trying to capture a piece of the construction industry. The non-residential construction industry was $570 billion in 2012, which dwarfs the office furniture industry. The potential for competing in the construction industry is 40 times what the office furniture industry is worth.

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