CA, Nissho Iwai Form B2B Venture

NEW ORLEANS (04/11/2000) - Computer Associates International Inc. (CA) has caught business-to-business (B2B) fever, forming a cross-industry online trading exchange in a joint venture with Nissho Iwai Corp. (NIC), executives announced tonight in a dual press conference from CA World here and Tokyo.

Each company is making an initial US$2 million investment to start Cynomix Corp., which is expected to begin operating next week with its B2B Web site launching in July or August, said Charles Wang, CA chairman and chief executive officer. CA officials joined him in New Orleans while Shiro Yasutake, president and CEO of NIC, spoke from a simultaneous press conference via a video broadcast from Tokyo.

The exchange initially will focus on connecting sellers and buyers of consumer goods such as stationery supplies, paper, food, metals and "other materials," which were not specified by Yasutake. The eventual aim, however, apparently is to broaden the exchange, with Yasutake noting that there are potentially "thousands" of possible markets that could be tapped.

Cynomix, which will be equally owned by the two companies, will charge a fee for each transaction connected through the exchange. The company will hire its own employees, although Wang did not indicate when that will happen or how many will be hired.

As one of the largest general trading companies in Japan, NIC will principally bring customers to the venture. The company has global trading interests in metals, machinery, oil and gas, automobiles, foods, consumer goods and chemicals. The company also handles trade finance, insurance and logistics -- key focus areas for Cynomix.

ETrade Lifeline Services is the name the companies have given the package of services that the B2B exchange will offer. Officials at the press conferences said that the service package will distinguish Cynomix from other B2B exchanges because buyers and sellers will find all aspects of their transactions handled in one place.

CA will bring technology to the mix, developing the online exchange using its Jasmine ii electronic-business platform, as well as its Unicenter TNG (The Next Generation) network and systems management tool, and its eTrust security software.

"The reason we believe we're going to be able to do this so quickly and with (only) a $4 million investment is because the software infrastructure is in place,'' said Toby Weiss, CA senior vice president in Japan, who spoke from New Orleans. The infrastructure he referred to is Jasmine ii, which became generally available this week and has been heavily touted during the user conference.

In some respects, the exchange isn't anything new, because it capitalizes on what NIC already does by pulling its range of trading services into one Web site.

"This isn't a company saying, 'let's try this,' " Wang said. "This is what Nissho Iwai already does today. It's a better way of doing what they already do."

CA World continues here through this week, although news announcements wrapped up today.

CA, in Islandia, New York, can be reached at +1-631-342-6600 or http://www.cai.com/. NIC, in Tokyo, can be reached at http://www.nisshoiwai.co.jp/.

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