Bunch of five to hit ASX

Bunch of five to hit ASX

Rather than selling out to interested overseas parties, five separate but related IT channel businesses based in Victoria and South Australia are in the process of merging into one company. Furthermore, it is the new company's intention to float on the Australian Stock Exchange later this year.

The five companies -- Microarts and Microarts South Australia, (resellers) Chips & Bits (distributor), Internet Access Australia (IAA, an ISP) and TotalNet Presence (e-commerce solutions provider) -- boast combined revenues in excess of $50 million. The new entity is to be called IT&E Limited.

"The move is not about trying to survive," Dean Wilson, managing director of Microarts, said. "It was brought about for a number of reasons. Each of the businesses involved, particularly IAA and TotalNet, has been approached by various overseas and local investors who were looking to acquire businesses to complete their own float agendas.

"Once we saw what they were doing we started to ascertain what the possibility would be of us floating ourselves. It is a tremendous opportunity for us to take our successful business model outside of its mainly Victorian and South Australian base," Wilson said.

Already having some common directorships among the contributing companies, once legal and accounting procedures are complete, IT&E will be looking to raise between $20-30 million through its initial public offering (IPO).

Wilson said this investment, as well as partnerships being discussed with major overseas Internet players, will propel the new company into "e-commerce and other emerging technologies with a focus on the Internet".

"All five businesses have always been profitable and there are lots of synergies in what they do," Wilson said. "It will be our intention to make some acquisitions in the Internet and e-commerce space as well as to develop new business initiatives along the lines of full e-commerce outsourcing and logistics."

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