Sausage expands into Asia

Sausage Software has celebrated the opening of its first Asian office in Singapore by signing up two global clients, one of whom is Credit Suisse First Boston (Hong Kong). "Others are in the pipeline," according to Tom Stanios, Sausage director of business solutions.

Stanios noted that the move into Asia followed Sausage's takeover of SMS Consulting and the appointment of SMS founder Lloyd Roberts as CEO of Sausage. "Sausage is effectively a new company," said Stanios, who also joined Sausage from SMS. He noted that the move into Asia is based on a similar overseas strategy used by SMS to break into the British market in 1999. "Like our move into the UK this move into Asia is a low risk decision with a high upside potential," Stanios said.

Sausage's Asian operation will be managed by Hilton Holloway, who previously managed SMS's Queensland business.

KDD takes a slice of Telemedia subsidiaryKDD, the giant Japanese telecommunications company, has agreed to take a stake in the Japanese subsidiary of listed Australian company Telemedia Networks. The investment in Telemedia Japan will be made by KDD Network Systems.

Chris Jones, CEO of Telemedia Networks, said the investment was a logical step in the relationship between the two companies. "Late last year we signed a reseller agreement with KDD, the second largest Japanese telco, to actively promote and sell Telemedia software products in the region. Both companies have benefited from the association, with Telemedia expanding its business in Japan and KDD having access to our products."

Jones added that the new deal will foster closer commercial ties and enhance the sales of Telemedia's customised software products and solutions to Japanese-owned networks and their global customers.

Working Systems forges Asian connection

Listed Australian developer Working Systems Solutions has formed a 50:50 joint venture with Singaporean company Indigoz to sell integrated marketing solutions initially in Singapore, Sydney and Perth. The business will be launched in Singapore next month and expects to offer Web information systems; brand consulting; advertising and promotional services, and environmental graphics.

To create the joint venture, Indigoz spun off its subsidiary Wordmaker Design and its inhouse Web design operation and merged them with the Integrated Communications Division of Working Systems.

Logica buys Aussie services group

Logica has moved to lift its game in the Australian market by agreeing to buy the bulk of MITS, the IT services business of Utility Services Corporation, for a price that could be as high as $A105 million. The deal includes the IT consulting arm of USC, and the two operations are expected to generate annual revenue of about $A65 million.

A Logica spokesman said that in the wake of the acquisition Logica's "much enlarged" Australian operation will offer an "extensive" range of solutions to business in the telecoms, financial services, industry, distribution and transport, and public sectors.

If USC shareholders approve the deal at an AGM on November 29, completion should take place on December 1.

Objectif firms broadband ties with CiscoRecently listed telecommunications software developer Objectif Telecommunications has become one of the first software developers in the Asia/Pacific region to join Cisco's New World Ecosystem Partner Program. As a member of the group Objectif will use a common reference architecture for integration with other Ecosystem software members to create end-to-end service fulfilment and service management solutions, a spokesman said.

Specifically, Objectif, which specialises in customer order management, service provisioning, number portability and management solutions, will work with Cisco to develop solutions for the ATM, frame relay and DSL markets, predominantly in the Asia/Pacific region.

The spokesman said the Objectif solution is expected to be released early next year when it will be sold as a solution with a billing system link ready and available.

Amdahl abandons mainframes to Big Blue

Amdahl announced late last week that it will quit the mainframe market and will instead focus its hardware activities on Fujitsu-branded Unix systems built on Sun's UltraSPARC processors. The company is making the move because the investment required to stay competitive with IBM's new 64-bit Z-Series of mainframes could not be justified by the declining returns. Amdahl will stop making mainframes in March 2002, but will keep supporting its installed base of customers for five years.

Amdahl's decision came just seven months after Hitachi Data Systems announced that it was scaling back its mainframe efforts and would not make sales to new customers.

An analyst with Meta Group in the US said that net growth of installed mainframe capacity has dropped from more than 33 per cent two years ago to just over 18 per cent last year. The market dynamics have now changed and with Amdahl and HDS out of the race users cannot expect to see more of the 30 or 35 per cent price/performance gains that have occurred annually in recent times, the analyst warned.

Business briefs

NetComm's plans to become a broadband telco received a boost this week when the company was awarded a carrier licence by the Australian Communications Authority. The company now intends to roll out broadband services early in 2001.

When Cable & Wireless suggested that it was prepared to break up the operations of C&W Optus it set the rumour mills working overtime. Now it has been reported that leading Japanese cellular carrier NTT DoCoMo and Telecom New Zealand are considering mounting a joint bid for Optus' mobile business.

Telstra's troubled Asian partner Pacific Century Cyberworks plans to ease some of its pain by raising $US1.8 billion through a rights issue and an issue of convertible bonds. The funds will be used to reduce debt and create a stable platform for growth, a PCCW statement explained.

Technology One has raised about $A18 million through the issue of some 4.47 million shares to finance the acquisition of a software company. Although the takeover target has not yet been named, it is claimed to have "a compatible technology base to Technology One's existing products".

Coms21's efforts to transform itself into an enterprise software group moved ahead this week when the company agreed to buy a half share of eGlobal Pacific, which is an SAP integration company that was previously known as Comparex Design Engineers.

Australian risk management company Oakvale Capital has joined forces with US company SunGuard Treasury Systems to deliver treasury risk management systems to Australian businesses online.

Corporate quarters at home

Neil Gamble, the recently appointed CEO of Solution 6, has wasted no time letting shareholders know they should expect the worst from the embattled company. In a statement released this week Gamble said he had revised annual forecasts for revenue to a total of between $A320 million and $A330 million and he expects the company to lose about $A16 million in the 2000/2001 financial year. Unaudited accounts show that the company lost $A3 million in the first quarter to September 30.

Technology investment company Senetas lost $A5.53 million in the year to June 30 when revenue generated by the company and its operating subsidiaries totalled $A4.5 million.

Corporate quarters abroad

Compaq Computer recorded a hot third quarter, but then warned investors that it is finding the pace hard to maintain. The company lifted net profit 288 per cent to $US550 million while revenue climbed 22 per cent to $US11.2 billion. The company lifted revenue by 41 per cent in its Asia/Pacific region and by 52 per cent in Japan. Despite the strong showing, Compaq warned that investors can expect a mixed performance for the remainder of the year because of concerns about currency in Europe.

Lucent Technologies fired its CEO Rich McGinn just hours before reporting that its pro forma profit for the fourth quarter to September 30 had fallen from $US768 million a year ago to $US600 million. Revenue from continuing operations increased 14.6 per cent from $US8.2 billion a year ago to $US9.4 billion.

The company has not appointed a replacement for McGinn but as an interim measure has handed the reins to formed CEO Henry Schacht, who was chairman of Avaya - Lucent's recently floated enterprise networking equipment arm.

Computer Associates saw its second quarter net profit slip from $US334 million a year ago to $US138 million. A statement released by the company noted that net contract value rose five per cent from $US1.61 billion to $US1.68 billion during the quarter. Sanjay Kumar, president and CEO of CA, said the results reflect the progress the company has made in its recovery plan.

Nortel Networks lifted revenue from $US5.15 billion to $US7.31 billion but lost $US586 million after accounting for costs related to acquisitions and other unusual items in its third quarter to September 30. A year earlier Nortel had lost $US79 million.

Thin client specialist Citrix Systems lifted third quarter revenue seven per cent from $US105.8 million to $US113.5 million. Net profit before one-off charges slipped from $US34.2 million to $US27.5 million.

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