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corProcure signs shareholder pact

corProcure signs shareholder pact

Controversial B2B exchange portal corProcure has announced it is still in negotiations with several partners to roll out the e-commerce platform designed to link 14 of Australia's largest corporate bodies.corProcure remains tight-lipped after extensive speculation within the IT industry as to which companies are in the running to secure the lucrative contract, estimated to be worth millions of dollars.

"The reason why I don't want to go into who's who at the zoo is because it wouldn't be fair to the players concerned, or the process we are currently engaged in," claims Cameron Moroney, who was named interim CEO of corProcure last week.corProcure is a joint venture project of 14 Australian-listed companies including AMP, Australia Post, ANZ, Coca-Cola Amatil, Telstra, Foster's Brewing Group and BHP designed to minimise companies' peripheral production costs by trading indirect goods and services in an open e-commerce marketplace.corProcure's budgeted IT investment also remains undisclosed, however all 14 companies have anti-upped $1 million just to sit at the table and further investments are expected as the project evolves.

Moroney claims the first priority is to get the e-commerce platform up and running before enhancing the functionality of the B2B exchange.

Many industry pundits believed it would be a lay down misére for Pricewater- houseCoopers to be appointed the technology partner, after the consulting firm was chosen to assist corProcure design its business model (ARNnet, July 20).

However, in light of last week's announcement, the ball is very much in anyone's court - with Anderson Consulting and AT Kearney just two names among many being bandied about.

According to Moroney, there are three to four companies vying for the lion's share of the platform building, but corProcure isn't limiting itself to a single technology partner.

"It doesn't matter which marketplace you care to name, and it doesn't matter how big the name is. No one has the complete functionality to do the job we envision we need to do in the next couple of years," he said.

"The message I'd really like to get out to those players who are probably feeling a level of frustration - because we can only cover so many bases and respond to so many people in a short period of time - is that, this is a process that we're working through," Moroney continued.

"We have to sort out what the backbone technology is for the marketplace, and then we'll start in the process of rounding out the functionality with a number of niche technologies, that will make the difference in terms of this thing moving forward."Moroney did venture that the incorporated body has received numerous submissions from "well-known technology providers", however no decision has been made. "We have narrowed these down, and are in the final due diligence process," he said. An announcement of the winning bidder is expected in the next couple of weeks.

Signed, sealed . . . but yet to deliver

The consortium signed its fate mid last week, with all 14 companies inking a shareholder's agreement, dispelling rumours the giant collaborative may never get off the ground. Hearsay was rife in the weeks leading up to last week's signing, with industry sources claiming corporate egos stood in the way of any sustaining relationship.

In a post signing address to the national media, Moroney blasted press scepticism that corProcure wouldn't make it this far, after the companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding 45 days ago.corProcure has chosen offices in Melbourne and appointed a human resource committee that is in the process of screening candidates for corProcure's senior management team. It is predicted the exchange will employ around 100 people within two years. corProcure is slated to begin trading in September.


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