Computershare takes over Welsh registrar

Computershare takes over Welsh registrarComputershare's British subsidiary has bought medium-sized Welsh share registrar Exchange Registrars and will move immediately to transfer all of its registers to Computershare's SCRIP system.

"This latest addition to Computershare's global registry business follows our strategy of growing by acquisition as well as organically," explained Julian Leiper, managing director of Computershare Services.

"We have invested significantly in UK registration, particularly in first class technology and the level of service provided to our clients and their shareholders."

Leiper added that key members of Exchange Registrars, including managing director Jeff Sainsbury, will transfer to Computershare.

Powerlan expands by acquisitions

Listed Australian systems integrator Powerlan has expanded its personnel services operations by buying a Hong Kong recruitment service and taking over a Sydney firm.

In Hong Kong, Powerlan has acquired CountryTech group, which is claimed to be the largest IT recruitment agency in Hong Kong. CountryTech turned over $HK28 million (almost $A6 million) in 1999.

Theo Baker, managing director of Powerlan, said the acquisition significantly accelerates the company's expansion into Asia. "CountryTech has relationships with more than 300 organisations throughout Asia, including the CEOs and senior executives who represent the who's who of Hong Kong," he added.

Closer to home, Powerlan has bought Sydney IT recruitment company Tara Daniel & Associates. The group, which includes industry veteran Les Howarth, will be integrated with Powerlan's IT&T Careers Group.

IT&e moves for regional presence via MalaysiaAustralian e-commerce specialist IT&e has signed a memorandum of understanding to form a joint venture with listed Malaysian financial services company OSK Holdings Berhad. OSK will hold 60 per cent of the new operation.

"The OSK transaction represents a significant milestone in IT&e's growth strategy," noted chief executive Jeremy Jilla. "We believe there is a limited window of opportunity for forging a new wave of alliances between Asian and Australian companies, and IT&e will take advantage of the rapid developments that have taken place in the Australian Internet economy over the past year.

"Initially the alliance will focus on the South East Asian markets, and thereafter IT&e and its partner intend to pursue similar opportunities in other global markets as they arise."

IT&e designed and operates the Comsec.com.au online trading Web site for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Telecoms software developer buys US companiesListed Australian software developer Telemedia has agreed to buy US company Phoenix Technologies for $US21 million and Donia Telecom for $US11 million in cash and shares.

Phoenix manufactures enhanced billing platforms, while Donia provides support services to telcos through its global support infrastructure.

"Following the completion of these acquisitions Telemedia will have a global installed base of enhanced service solutions with more than 130 installations across 69 telecom service providers in 33 countries. This will give us worldwide 24 hour live support infrastructure stretching across six continents," noted Chris Jones, chief executive of Telemedia.

Business briefs at home

Listed Australian outsourcing and services company Iocom has raised $A1.9 million through a placement of 2,542,000 shares at 75 cents to fund its acquisition of MUA (Business Pursuits section of The Rust Report, March 13). The placement was made to institutional and professional investors.

The Rust Report hastens to say it has heard nothing official about BHP's progress in offloading its IT services arm. However, sources close to the action believe EDS's bid is receiving more favourable attention than CSC's because it will lead to a structure more likely to be acceptable to staff of BHP IT.

Listed Australian technology group GPS Online has bought three companies as it attempts to extend its offerings in the global positioning and fleet management arenas. The three takeover targets are Custom Data Solutions, Antron Communications, and Custom Call Communications. Total outlays for the takeovers was $A2.325 million in shares.

Online recruitment specialist The Ambition Group has worked a deal with Solution 6 and will supply weekly career information to the eccountancy portal.

News briefs from abroad

Xerox plans to cut 5200 jobs under a restructuring program that is expected to cost it $US625 million. The retrenchments are intended to create a leaner company better able to compete with rivals in the office equipment and document solutions markets.

US storage management company Veritas Software has joined a private investment group that wants to take over hard disk drive manufacturer Seagate Technology for $US20 billion. The investor group is headed by Silver Lake Partners and includes Texas Pacific Group. When the purchase is completed the buyers will split Seagate's assets between themselves, meaning that Veritas will reclaim 33 per cent ownership in shares previously held by Seagate.

Cisco's aggressive investment strategy, which appears to know no bounds, has continued with the takeover of Internet appliance manufacturer SightPath for $US800 million. The deal will be financed by a share swap.

British Telecom, Microsoft and AT&T have joined forces to conceive, develop and deploy wireless applications for mobile business and consumer users. The applications will make use of high-speed data networks.

Cabletron wants to streamline its operations by selling the network operations it bought from Digital Equipment Corp two years ago. It will put on the block its Digital Networks Product Group and the NetVantage operation. "I'm not really sure who would want to buy either of those two turkeys, but at any price there will be a buyer," noted one US business analyst.

Troubled ERP developer Baan is planning to create a CRM subsidiary by spinning off the operation of Aurum Software, which it bought three years ago.

StorageTek and Great Hill Partners have spun off a company called ManagedStorage International that will offer data storage services, including storage on demand and server backup.

Corporate Quarters

In its fourth quarter Cabletron Systems lifted revenue from $US345.1 million to $US381.8 million, while net profit increased from $US3.8 million a year ago to $US28.1 million. The quarter included $US421.6 million net of tax related to realised gain from the sale of Cabletron's FlowPoint division.

In its first financial report since going public, Palm Inc generated sales of $US272.3 million and made a net profit of $US10.95 million. A year earlier revenue had been $US125.9 million and net profit $US6.6 million. Palm's IPO netted 3Com $US1.17 billion.

3Com's third quarter revenue rose slightly to $US1.42 billion, compared to $US1.41 billion a year ago. Excluding one-time charges the company made a net profit of $US97.4 million, compared to $US89.6 million a year earlier.

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