Asia Online fate still uncertain

The fate of ISP Asia Online remains up in the air as the week starts with liquidator Kieran Downey saying talks about the company's future are still continuing.

The fate of ISP Asia Online remains up in the air as the week starts with liquidator Kieran Downey saying talks about the company's future are still continuing.

"We have nothing to announce yet, we're still discussing with various parties as to the future of the company."

Asia Online was placed in voluntary liquidation late last week after the US parent company refused to fund the ISP any further. The Australian arm of the operation was placed in "administration" and Australian customers are being re-directed to competing ISP OzEmail where they are being told that OzEmail has scored the exclusive rights to mail forwarding for Asia Online customers, virtually locking in customers who wish to retain their existing email address.

The Hong Kong office has also closed its doors, however Downey says that won't have any impact on the future of the New Zealand branch.

"No, none whatsoever." Hong Kong was the regional head office for Asia Online.

Beyond the official word, it has been reported by Asia Online staff that security guards stormed the company's Hong Kong office to clear out all staff, while the New Zealand operations have a mere 48 hours before they are required to close down under local legislation.

Official word from the company is that business will continue as usual at Asia Online, while KPMG Sydney's partner Scott Kershaw undertakes an 'urgent appraisal' of the company's activities, with a view to selling the Australian business as a going concern.

"The directors' appointed an administrator because they believed that the company was or would become insolvent. ...The appointment of an administrator is an interim measure and provides a breathing space for an assessment of the future prospects of the business," an official KPMG statement says.

There were concerns about Asia Online's viability as far back as April, with a post to a site that tracks the demise of companies hinting at management struggles within the company. Ex-staffers at Asia Online have also established an online forum to air their grievances, with a number of posts also indicating that trouble had been brewing for some time.

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