Telemedia moves to Oz

Tax breaks and development opportunities lure succesful software firm across the Tasman

NEW ZEALAND TELECOMMUNICATIONS software company Telemedia is relocating to Sydney and is listing on the Australian stock exchange.

The firm is moving because "the [Australian] environment for development and exporting is attractive", says CEO and founder Chris Jones. Tax breaks for research and development are also better for an Australian company, he says, and Sydney is a "logical point" for Telemedia to work from as it becomes a global company.

Jones — who established the company here in 1996 — has now "migrated" it to Sydney and plans to raise $16 million through a public share offer. The company has a turnover of just under $A6 million, but it is forecasting a jump to $A23 million for the year ending June 30, 2000. This will be achieved by opening international offices — in Hong Kong, London, Tokyo, Bangkok, Singapore and Sydney — and employing six of the best sales people available globally, says Jones. A short list has already been drawn up for the potential sales people and they will be employed soon.

The need for good staff is one of the reasons for going public, says Jones. "These guys all have track records of sales over $US10 million, and they expect to get stock options as well as a base, commission and bonuses. They don't work for private companies." They will be hired from Telemedia's competitors internationally.

Approximately $A1 million of the money raised will be used for hiring staff and setting up new offices, and a further "major chunk" has been set aside for acquisitions internationally. These purchases are likely to increase Telemedia's customer base rather than its product range, says chairman Rod Olsen. Sixteen million shares will be offered at $A1 each from September 22 to October 2, underwritten by Hartley Poynton. There are no plans to list on the New Zealand stock exchange, but the Nasdaq is a future possibility, says Jones.

Telemedia develops value add services, such as voicemail, prepaid mobile systems and call centre systems, for telecommunications companies in New Zealand and overseas.

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