Taking Stock – Baan should phone the lost property bureau.

Corporate howler of the week must go to the boys and girls over at Dutch accounting software provider Baan, who it appears, actually mislaid a whole office.

The company – which advises on financial management software – did not realise it had an office in Sydney, Australia, until it was pointed out by a rival company.

It appears that Baan – which had been experiencing poor performance – was unaware one of its then subsidiary CODA, had the office when it came to sell off the business earlier this year. Baan – which itself was bought out for #162m by UK engineering and IT giant Invensys in August – only realised this when it was negotiating to sell off the subsidiary to Science Systems.

Apparently, meetings between the top brass at Science Systems and Baan took place, to discuss what SS would be getting for its money.

The subsequent list did not include the Sydney office in the package, despite the fact it has approximately 40 customers and had been trading full-time in the run up to the talks.

A Science Systems official told Baan top brass of the office and even supplied a telephone number to call ‘Down Under’ to clarify the situation.

Baan Australia then confirmed there was indeed an Australian SS, before it was included in the package.

A source, said: ‘At the meetings between the companies, Baan had not given the impression they were people in control of their operations. They had to go away to find out whether this office existed, but with the number of directors who had left the company, it was probably not surprising’. Need we continue?

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