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Direct marketing company Sema placed in voluntary administration

Engel Schmidl /

Direct marketing company Sema Group has been placed in voluntary administration, with PPB Advisory now searching for expressions of interest in the hope of selling the company.

The business, which has been running for over three decades and turned over $100 million in 2010-11, was placed in administration last Thursday. Phil Carter, Marcus Ayres and Daniel Walley were appointed by PPB.

The direct marketing group employs 375 people, while PPB claims the business has “significant long-term contacts and customer relationships”, along with state-of-the-art printing facilities.

“PPB Advisory will commence an urgent assessment of the business, and operations will continue on a ‘business as usual’ basis while the review is undertaken,” PPB said in a statement.

Sema began as a family business – and still remains so. Caine Costello is listed as the company’s chief executive, along with directors Paul Costello and Peter Davies. The business originally began as SecurityMail in 1980, but then continued expanding and adding new services.

NAB is listed as the company’s chief secured creditor. The first creditors’ meeting is set to take place next Tuesday, May 29.

The company offers direct marketing services including mail services, along with analytics services as well, which includes customer profiling and propensity modelling. It also offers regular reporting services, which measure inventory, invoicing and work-in-progress reports, along with a digital strategy that includes mobile and social marketing.

The business also markets itself heavily to government departments, with clients including the Electoral Commission, the Taxation Office, Medicare and the Department of Parliamentary Services.

Other clients include local government divisions in a number of states, while major state government clients include the New South Wales Department of Education and Training, along with the Queensland Treasury, and the Victorian Electoral Commission.

The business has won a number of awards, including being named a state winner in the 2009 AIIA Innovation Awards.

Administrators have said they will “urgently assess the financial position of the company”, while the decision to continue trading will be assessed on a daily basis.

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