MTIC forges deal with big gun of security

MTIC Corporate, a recently acquired subsidiary of ASX-listed Nexus Minerals, has entered a partnership with the biggest name in encryption, RSA Security. In the wake of the deal RSA's cryptography technologies will be integrated into several of MTIC's core products, including I-NetPOS, NETEDI and E-Remit.

A spokesman said that MTIC, through its eCommerce Trade Centre, wanted to deliver "unambiguous and durable" business transactions electronically. "To achieve this requires the use of a methodology that is not only extensible enough to meet future requirements, but is also adaptable enough to incorporate new technologies and requirements as they emerge," the spokesman explained.

The agreement was a consequence of a recent alliance MTIC formed with US company Globeset, the spokesman added.

DeepSky signs up British reseller

Retail software developer DeepSky Software, which is a subsidiary of listed company DeepSky WebMarket, has found a British reseller for its Oracle-based product DeepSky Retail. The agreement with Torex Retail is expected to be worth at least $A15 million over the next three years.

Torex will sell the software in the UK as part of its Visual Solutions range of applications for retailers. "This agreement is a significant step in DeepSky's commercialisation strategy, as Torex has a strong market position and the competence to sell our new Oracle-based product to major UK retail chains," noted Geoff Renner, managing director of DeepSky.

"Our partnership with Oracle is leading to integration with the Oracle eBusiness Applications Suite, and as we reach higher certification levels DeepSky will benefit from worldwide marketing support," Renner added.

Protel buys US CAD developer

Listed software developer Protel International, which specialises in Windows-based electronic design software, has bought Californian developer Innovative CAD Software for about $A3 million. A spokesman noted that the acquisition gives Protel access to a range of computer-aided manufacturing products that are complementary to its existing product lines.

"The inclusion of proven CAM technology in Protel's product lines will provide users with the capacity to link design and manufacturing functions using a single, integrated design package, thereby minimising the potential for fabrication problems," the spokesman added.

Optus banks on its alliances

Cable & Wireless Optus has forged a string of alliances to promote its capabilities in the mobile data communications and voice over IP arenas.

Through a four-way deal involving Computer Sciences Corporation, IBM and Nokia, Optus will seek to provide a new generation of mobile data services for business users. Nokia and Optus will support the services by establishing a data incubator centre, which will develop business data applications for WAP, GPRS and other mobile technologies.

An alliance between Optus and US Internet telephony carrier ITXC Corp will speed the roll out of the Optus voice over IP network. A spokesman said the deal enables Optus to send more traffic out of Australia over to 258 POPs in 151 cities in 60 countries. Optus expects to be able to offer its VoIP services to business and government users by the end of this year.

Business briefs

Coms21 has agreed to integrate its smart card and smart vision technologies with the Iris Recognition biometric technology of US company IriScan. The two companies will join forces to tender for the upgrade of the Hong Kong Idcard system to smart card and biometric technologies. That project, due for completion by 2003, is believed to have a budget of more than $US300 million.

IT investment company Senetas has sold its stake in Alta Internet Business Centres to US ASP specialist Interpath Communications for shares representing a 1.35 per cent stake in Interpath. Senetas invested $A4 million for its 45 per cent holding in Alta and claims to have come out of the deal with a paper profit of slightly more than $A2 million.

Senetas has also raised $US2 million for about 10 per cent of the capital of its US subsidiary eCryp. A spokesman said eCryp technology allows for the safe transmission of biometric data across public networks, allowing the centralisation of the authentication process for remote users.eServ, which provides enterprise IT solutions to customers in the telecommunications, financial services and media industries, has launched an IPO to raise $A15 million. Proceeds of the float, which values the company at $A105 million, will be used to complete recent acquisitions and fund further product development. The company's shares are expected to list on the ASX on September 12.

Software developer Adacel hopes to raise its profile after being appointed an agreed IT professional services supplier to Telstra this week. Adacel produces software for telecommunications, B2B e-commerce, aviation and defence applications, and is completing a major software system for a global satellite telecommunications network, a spokesman explained.

PowerTel has signed up for a 12 months supply of satellite communications capacity from ARBT to bridge the gap between customer demand and delivery of capacity on the Southern Cross cable, which is due to be commissioned in November. ARBT, which trades as Heartland Communications, is a subsidiary of ASX-listed company Maxis Corporation.

Telstra has opened a Broadband eLab in Tasmania as part of the Federal Government's Launceston Broadband Project. Other components of the project include the provision of ADSL Internet access to up to 5000 consumers and businesses in Launceston, and the creation of a business development fund to stimulate high-tech business opportunities in the Launceston region.

Corporate quarters at home

Solace, the listed developer of software for banking and finance applications, made a profit after tax but before abnormals of $A1.62 million in the year to June 30. After accounting for abnormals, however, the company moved into the red to the tune of $A17,000. Revenue for the year jumped dramatically from $A3.4 million to $A9.7 million. The company's performance was remarkable given that for a period of the financial year it had been in voluntary administration and trading in its shares had been suspended until December 1999. The abnormal items related to the administration period. During the financial year Solace acquired the operations of iXchange and GFG (Australia), both specialists in the areas of front-end, e-banking, card payments and switching products.

Online payment services provider CommSecure made an operating profit of $A1.9 million in the year to May 31, but lost $A5.2 million after accounting for abnormal items, including intangibles of $A4.6 million. A spokesman said that at May 31 CommSecure's cash reserves exceeded $A11 million.

Corporate quarters abroad

Dell Computer has lifted net profit 19 per cent to $US603 million in its second quarter to June 30, when revenue rose 25 per cent to $US7.7 billion. The strong performance was attributed to an enhanced range of products and advantageous purchasing deals on components.

A spokesman said sales of network servers, storage products and workstations were particularly strong during the quarter, and that portable product sales rose 60 per cent.

Online sales accounted for half of Dell's revenue during the quarter and reached more than $US50 million a day. Sales in the Asia/Pacific region increased 48 per cent, while sales in China grew a staggering 86 per cent.

In its fourth quarter to July 29 Cisco Systems lifted net sales 61 per cent from $US3.56 billion to $US5.72 billion. Net profit for the quarter climbed from $US605 million a year earlier to $US796 million. "We predicted five years ago that we were in the midst of a second Industrial Revolution that would determine the prosperity of companies, countries and individuals. Today, the Internet continues to drive the strongest US economy in history," noted John Chambers, Cisco's CEO. "The second Industrial Revolution is just beginning and businesses and governments are turning to Cisco, the Internet expert, to assist them in transforming their companies and countries."

In the second quarter to June 30 RSA Security lifted revenue 29 per cent from $US51.8 million to $US66.7 million. Net profit slipped from $US43.0 million a year ago to $US37.2 million after accounting for a pre-tax gain of $US45.0 million from the sale of shares in VeriSign and Trintech. Profit from RSA's core operating business rose 57 per cent to $US9.4 million.

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