PI Adds Thailand's WorldNet to ISP Portfolio

Regional Internet service provider Pacific Internet Ltd. (PI) has established itself in Thailand with the acquisition of a majority stake in Bangkok-based IT Star Co. Ltd., the holding company of ISP WorldNet & Services Co. Ltd. The acquisition will be complete by early March, PI said in a statement issued Monday.

Thailand is the sixth country in which Nasdaq-listed PI now operates after Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, the Philippines and India. The acquisition of WorldNet is in line with the company's recent efforts to increase its subscriber base and diversify its revenue portfolio, PI said in its statement.

Financial terms of the deal, including the size of PI's stake, were not disclosed.

WorldNet's core business is in providing Internet service access such as basic dial-up, permanent link and Web hosting services to the public and corporations under the brand name Apricot.

Less than one in 300 Thais currently has an Internet account, according to the Thailand Internet Service Providers Club, with 200,000 subscribers for a population of 62 million. But the market is expected to grow by 35 percent a year, and presents tremendous growth potential, according to PI's chief executive officer Nicholas Lee.

PI's regional diversification, and its development of the Pacfusion.com portal, have been driven by fierce cost competition in its home market of Singapore, where rivals Starhub and SingNet now offer free surfing, and outsiders such as Freei.Net are being allowed to provide services as the market continues to deregulate.

Pacific Internet, in Singapore, can be contacted at +65-771-0761 or at http://www.pacific.net.sg/.

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