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Australian Travel Site Debuts at 135 Percent Premium

Australian online travel agent start-up travel.com.au made an impressive debut on the Australian Stock Exchange Wednesday, with a closing price of $2.94, delivering a 135 percent premium to shareholders.

With a list price of AUS$1.25, over 7.3 million share were traded today with the sale price peaking at AUS$3.19, a massive 149 percent premium.

The CEO of travel.com.au, David Tonkin, was said to be "overwhelmed" by the excitement that the listing generated.

Trading of shares was limited to retail day traders, according to the adviser on the IPO, Gordon Fell from Ord Minnet. He added that there was "virtually no institutional buying or selling, indicating investors are holding on to travel.com.au shares."

The IPO has generated an additional AUS$23.5 million in funds that will be "used as a strong platform to further develop the company's online travel business in Australia and overseas."

At the end of the first day's trading, the market capitalisation of the company was $123 million.

The debut on the ASX also coincided with the opening of the company first "e-tail" outlet at its Clarence Street, Sydney, offices. This facility provides a 100" multi-media display and three terminals which allow visitors to shop online for travel.

"The purpose of the e-tail outlet is to show customers and passers-by what a '.com' or e-commerce travel company really looks like," said Fell.