Market speculation about the potential of listed ISP-cum-Internet company eisa could take a turn for the better after local banking cornerstone NAB revealed last week it had secured more than 5 per cent of the company.
Damian Brady, eisa's managing director, confirmed last week that NAB had taken 6.46 per cent of the company, which represents just under 3.9 million ordinary shares.
The price of eisa's shares from its September float has been unspectacular, with some industry analysts putting that down to the high reliability placed on Internet-bundled PCs in the prospectus. After being issued at $1.00, its price tumbled to as low as $0.62 before recovering to $0.80 at press time.
Brady said that the Internet bundles were actually `in line with what we expected', and the company was `on target' to achieve the figures initially presented to investors.
`We think [the Internet-bundled PCs] will work very well with our second- and third-tier resellers and some of our tier-one retailers will pick it up,' Brady said. `The Strathfield Group and Tandy are both doing well for us.'
Of the NAB investment, Brady said that as far as he was aware, it was part of the bank's long-term holdings strategy. It was not the result of any special deal or concession.
`We have a commercial relationship with them,' Brady said. `They are our bank. But that has no relevance to the fact that they have a major shareholding in the company.'
The fact that NAB has taken an equity position in the company doesn't preclude eisa from doing business with other banks, according to Brady.
`We have just announced a full e-commerce relationship with ANZ where we are using their e-gate solution as the cornerstone of the e-commerce platform we are selling to corporate customers,' he said.
`NAB had a very small share holding when we went public and we have since shared with them the vision of what we are doing. We are taking it [sustained share buying] as an endorsement of the company,' he said.
`They are one of the most aggressive banking asset management groups in Australia, with a specific fund to venture on companies such as ours.'