Business briefs Down Under

ASX-listed software developer Clarity International has raised $A6 million through the placement of 2.4 million ordinary shares to institutional clients of KTM Capital and has implemented a six-for-one share split. The newly raised capital will be used to fund the expansion of Clarity's business into the US and Europe, while the share split will increase the number of shares on issue from 50 million to 300 million. Clarity listed its 50 cent shares on the ASX last October and traded at $A3.20 before trading was halted prior to the announcements.

Tomorrow -- the mining company that is to be transformed into a new economy player by Wayne Bos, a former managing director of Sausage Software -- has taken a 45 per cent stake in ASX-listed 131 Shop.com.au. Tomorrow expects to gain full control of 131 Shop.com.au before the middle of this year, at which time it is expected to close the ailing online shopping mall, rename it and resurrect it in another role.

Shareholders of listed investment development company Isec have approved the takeover of the Hostworks Internet hosting company, which has its headquarters and data centre in Adelaide. When the deal is completed Isec will change its name to Hostworks Group and will concentrate its activities on the Internet services business. "Hostworks has now become the first listed Internet hosting company in Australia and is well positioned to capitalise on the growth of an industry predicted to double in size every year to reach $A1 billion by 2004," explained Gary Thomas, group commercial director of Hostworks.

Cable & Wireless Optus has joined forces with Authentic8 to develop an online authentication service for Optus' government and business customers. The OPI Trust will be a fully managed service based on public key infrastructure and providing users with an easy way to authenticate the identity of the people they are dealing with online, a spokesman said. The service will be built on Authentic8's software, digital certificates and smart cards, and Authentic8 will also manage the provisioning aspects of the service.

Southern Cross Cable Network has lifted capacity sales by $US443 million to a total of $US1.6 million since its launch last November. The company has also adopted a higher capacity Dense Wave Division Multiplexing technology that is four times as fast as its existing multiplexing system. "Our suppliers Alcatel and Fujitsu have confirmed the potential for total protected network capacity to be increased from 120G-bits/sec to 480G-bits/sec," explained Ross Pfeffer, director of the Asia/Pacific market for Southern Cross.

Western Australian minerals exploration and telecommunications investment company Quadrant Australia, which last month bought itself a share of the resuscitated Iridium Satellite communications network, will be required to work with a subsidiary of Stratos Global to market Iridium's services. Iridium has entered a worldwide distribution deal with Satellite Distribution Services, which will build a global network of service providers to sell satellite communications services to industrial users.

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More about 131 ShopAlcatel-LucentAuthentic8Cable & WirelessClarity InternationalFujitsuHostworksHostworksIridiumIsecOptusQuadrant AustraliaSausage SoftwareSECSouthern Cross CableStratos Global

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