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November 29, 1998

INFOBANK TO RAISE 8.9M POUNDS FOR E-COMMERCE DRIVE

By CBR Staff Writer

Shares in UK-based Infobank International Holdings Plc rose 20.8% yesterday to 43.5 pence after the company announced plans to raise almost 9m pounds for a European drive into e-commerce. Most of the money is earmarked to promote InTrade, a business to business e-commerce package that allows companies’ employees to order goods from an approved list of suppliers from their desktop. While the market is expected to grow rapidly, Infobank say it is in its early stages and few competitors have so far emerged in Europe. As evidence of InTrade’s potential, Infobank says it has an agreement with British Telecommunications Plc that enables BT and its alliance partners to offer e-commerce managed network services using InTrade. Hewlett-Packard Co will trial InTrade in Europe and Infobank also says it has an alliance with Intel for the promotion of e-commerce purchasing systems in Europe. Despite market interest, Infobank says the sales cycle can be around six months and therefore revenues will lag behind the build-up of activity. While the mention of e-commerce caught the market’s attention, the company has a checkered history, and as recently as September this year issued a profit warning and announced board changes. It has two other operations; Software Corporation, a reseller of third party software, and TrustMarque, which offers secure distribution of digital media. Originally the plan was to float TrustMarque as a separate quoted company but the board is now looking at other alternatives, such as a strategic alliance with a financial or trade partner. While Infobank’s revenues have grown rapidly, the company made an operating loss of 3.1m pounds on revenues of 21.4m pounds in the first six months of this year. The new money, which will provide Infobank with 8.1m pounds net of expenses, is to be raised in the form of 9% convertible loan stock.

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