Mincom walks the ASP tightrope

An IT-weary stockmarket combined with the industry expectation that more than half of Australia's ASPs are doomed won't deter Mincom's ASP arm, Tequinox, from going to market later this year, officials said last week.

The Mincom board recently approved the spin-off of Tequinox, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Brisbane-headquartered enterprise software developer, while the initial public offering of its IT outsourcing and application service provider business looks likely by mid-2000, according to Bill Hodgson, Tequinox's executive vice president and Mincom co-founder.

Hodgson said he was "comfortable" with industry predictions of a dramatic consolidation in the local ASP market, such as that of Gartner research director Rolf Jester, who estimated that more than 60 per cent of existing ASPs will be out of business by the end of 2001.

"Every man and his dog suddenly is an ASP," Hodgson said. "Yesterday they're a software company, today they're an ASP."

However, he qualified that Tequinox's ASP revenues generated from its Denver data centre had grown fivefold in the last 12 months.

In fact, as Hodgson pointed out, $10 million of Tequinox's $30 million in annual revenue was brought in by its ASP business, a claim he guessed could not be matched by most other ASPs based in Australia. "It's the business that we've been in forever," he said.

With Tequinox's IPO expected in June or July, Hodgson said he was confident the company would fare strongly on the turbulent seas that are currently the IT sector of the stockmarket. "What's new?" he jested. "I'm from the mining industry."

Hodgson would not speculate on details of the company's imminent IPO, such as the amount of capital sought after by the ASP.

However, he confirmed that only 20 per cent of Tequinox would be publicly listed; Mincom would still own 80 per cent of Tequinox after the IPO. Exactly 68 per cent of Mincom is owned by its staff, he added.

Although Hodgson stressed that Tequinox had offered ASP services for around three years, he said the newly corporatised company would launch its ASP services, which include various Microsoft and Oracle applications, in NSW next month.

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