Infosentials tackles US govt market

Listed new media company Infosentials plans to deliver its online training package to the US government market through an alliance it has hammered out with Richard Siegersma, deputy managing director of Infosentials, explained that is a US government portal that provides a secure shopping mall for government procurements to more than 100,000 members.

Infosentials is the first online training supplier to join Its computer-based training system offers interactive lessons in the use of popular PC applications and it can be accessed over the Internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"Our aim was to put the power of our highly-developed online training methodology into the hands of training managers and individuals in the federal sector," Siegersma said. He added that the government sector is the second-largest employer/trainer in the US, training 83.4 per cent of its workforce and spending an average of $US699 per employee.

Last month Infosentials released its American Computer Drivers Licence in the US.

SecureNet beefs up Hong Kong venture

The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation has joined SecureNet's joint venture in Hong Kong - Cable & Wireless HKT SecureNet - giving added muscle to the fledgling online security provider. HSBC will pay $US16 million for a 16 per cent stake in the venture, which recently announced plans to expand its offerings into Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia and India.

SecureNet will retain about 34 per cent of the expanded capital of the venture and will receive a 10 per cent royalty payment for licence fees the venture has generated outside Hong Kong.

"The addition of a third major organisation into the business will allow the venture to accelerate its development into a significant player in the e-commerce security market in the region," noted Geoffrey Ross, managing director of SecureNet. The link to HSBC's banking services will widen the venture's "basket of offerings", Ross added.

VoiceNet works on a Kiwi connection

Australian speech technology company VoiceNet has agreed to work with Telecom New Zealand to develop a range of speech and information services for the Kiwi market. The details of the agreement have yet to be confirmed, but it is expected to involve creation of a range of services tailored to Telecom's requirements.

"The planned range of product offerings is earmarked to deliver to customers the benefits of leading edge technological innovation and functionality," a Telecom spokesman claimed.

"Telecom's arrangement with VoiceNet has the potential to put the company ahead of its competitors by utilising innovative ways to deliver the benefits of the latest technology to customers."

Stone sets the base for ASP

Stone Group Asia-Pacific Investments, which is listed on the ASX (SGA), has entered a deal with US company STC which will provide its e*way and e*gate middleware to be used as the hub of Stone's ASP, e-commerce solution (ECS). A spokesman said ECS will allow the existing computer systems of SMEs to access e-commerce and CRM applications on a subscription basis.

"By implementing a series of e-business software applications in conjunction with STC's middleware, SMEs that could not afford access to high-end e-business software will obtain the full benefit of integrated business communication and customer management at a fraction of the single licence cost," a spokesman claimed.

Under the terms of the deal Stone will issue two tranches of 500,000 shares to STC, will pay a per-client licensing fee, and will be charged normal maintenance and consulting fees.

Business briefs

Union Capital Group has agreed to buy a 53 per cent stake in Queensland e-mail software developer JAB for a cash injection of $A3 million over six months. Some $A600,000 of that investment will be spent on a development program for the next generation of JAB's interactive e-mails, which are able to incorporate video-like imagery that can be used for marketing. The remainder of the investment will be used to expand JAB's business into the US.

Solution 6 has formed a partnership with GSTpay to offer the GSTpay product via the eSite Web hosting service for accountants. A spokesman said GSTpay has been developed over 12 months with the backing of Hewlett-Packard and Ernst & Young and is a product that allows accountants to complete, review, lodge electronically and approve Business Activity Statements on behalf of their clients.

Victorian electricity retailer United Energy plans to launch its telecommunications subsidiary Uecomm on the ASX after offering shares representing about 30 per cent of the company. Uecomm operates a fibre optic network servicing the CBDs of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

Corporate quarters

Listed carrier One.Tel dropped a bombshell last week when it issued a statement promoting its growth prospects but acknowledging that it expects that its loss in the year to June 30 will be as high as $A297 million. Most of the loss was attributed to the company's expansion in Europe. "One.Tel will start off the 00/01 financial year with a clean balance sheet, minimal debt and a booming business in Australia and Europe," noted joint managing director Bradley Keeling.

Recently listed software developer ComOps lifted operating profit from $A253,000 in the first half of the financial year to $A1.03 million in the six months to June 2000. Revenue for the period rose to $A5.3 million.

EDS did it tough in the second quarter when revenue was effectively flat at $US4.615 billion and net profit rose slightly from $US240.6 million to $US254.3 million. A statement released by the company claimed it had signed more than 1100 contracts worth $US6.1 billion during the quarter.

Computer Sciences Corp lifted revenue almost 12 per cent to $US2.46 billion and net profit 13.5 per cent to $US96.0 million in its first quarter to June 30. The growth was attributed in part to "robust activity" in large scale outsourcing and activities in the Asia/Pacific markets. "Revenue gains in Australia were particularly aided by outsourcing awards from General Electric/GE Capital and BHP, and CSC's acquisition of their respective IT services business units," a company statement noted.

Troubled storage specialist StorageTek crawled back into the black with a net profit of $US651,000 in its second quarter to June 30. A year earlier the company had lost $US38.5 million. Revenue for the quarter slipped from $US654.4 million a year ago to $US512.5 million. "We have made great strides but we still have significant opportunity for further improvement," said new CEO Patrick Martin.

Chip manufacturer AMD lifted revenue from $US595.1 million to $US1170.4 million in its second quarter to July 2. Net profit jumped from $US78.9 million to $US207.1 million. The solid performance was attributed to strength in the company's principal product lines - PC processors and flash memory devices - even though the second quarter is traditionally weak for PC processors.

Sound card specialist Creative Technology lifted net profit from $US14.7 million to $US37.4 million on revenue that rose 12 per cent from $US275.1 million to $US307.7 million in its fourth quarter to June 30. The record profit was attributed to increased profit margins from audio equipment sales and the introduction of personal digital entertainment products. The rapid rise of MP3 digital music on the PC platform was also a factor, the company noted.

Inprise/Borland lifted second quarter revenue 16 per cent from $US42.0 million to $US46.7 million. Profit before accounting for merger costs was $US4.0 million, compared with a loss of $US9.5 million a year earlier.

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