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Baycorp enters Asian online market

By Nicholas Bryant

Friday 14th April 2000

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Sharemarket superstar Baycorp has announced details of its planned expansion into Asia, a strategy which sees it rubbing shoulders with international competitor Dun & Bradstreet.

A strongly performing credit information and e-commerce company, Baycorp has signed a 50-50 joint-venture agreement with Keppel Communications, a subsidiary company of Singaporean listed company Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation.

The market liked the news with Baycorp's stock price surging upwards to close at $11.05 up 70c on Wednesday.

The joint venture's goal, through newly formed company BizInfo Asia Pacific, is to supply online credit and business information first to Singapore and eventually to most of Asia's business community.

BizInfo will establish a regional presence by taking up equity stakes in local content providers. Through those entities BizInfo will provide online commercial credit reporting and financial risk management solutions to multinational, bank and financial institution customers.

With the ink on the deal barely dry, the partnership began this week with the acquisition of a majority interest in Singapore-based Infocredit Holdings, a company to which Baycorp announced it had licensed its software.

The 52% stake in that company, which cost each partner $S4.4 million, gives Baycorp working exposure to competitor Dun & Bradstreet.

The well-known business information provider is a 45% owner of credit information provider SingBizInfo, with the other 55% owned by Infocredit.

That positioning has left Baycorp confident it can capture the largest market share in Singapore's credit and business information market.

Financial data indicates there is a market for the services being offered with banks writing off about 10% of loans from the outset due to such high default rates.

Baycorp general manager of group strategy Paul Stewart said the move into Asia was prompted by how few credit information providers operated in the region and the chance for Baycorp to implement its software technology into rapidly growing economies.

During the next three years BizInfo intends taking equity stakes in Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, India and Pakistan, ranked from lowest risk to highest.

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