RealTime IT News

E-Mailbag Monday: Airspan Networks, FedEx, Applets

What is hot for the IPO market this week?

Reply: Take a look at Airspan Networks. The company is a leader in the nascent industry of fixed wireless services. Basically, this helps to provide high-speed Net access to dispersed areas, thus avoiding costly infrastructure build-out. In fact, the company has introduced its services in Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

But there are risk factors. For example, Sri Lanka and the Philippines may be subject to political instability. The company also has a hefty debt load, which was the result of a management buyout in 1998.

Despite all this, the IPO should have a warm welcome. The industry is hot, and the company signed a huge deal with Motorola.

The lead underwriter is CS First Boston and the proposed ticker symbol is AIRN. The price range is $9-$11.

FedEx: Delivering on the Net?

You have written about UPS as benefiting from the Net. What about FedEx?

Reply: I like both companies. They are a way to play the surge in the Net without the extreme volatility of pure plays. Actually, FedEx has been getting lots of traction lately, as the company has been beating earnings estimates over the past year. But perhaps the most alluring part of the company is not in the US. FedEx has been showing strong growth rates overseas (where the margins have been higher).

The company has been using its huge cash position to not only upgrade its systems, but also buyback shares. And, hey, the company even has a P-E ratio (it is 18).

Applet: Size Does Not Matter

Reply: An application is a major computer program. An applet is a smaller program within an application. The term applet was popularized with the Java programming language. Programmers could create applets, such as calendars, within a browser environment. For the most part, applets are relatively safe. Why? Because they usually cannot perform certain output operations (such as saving to a hard drive).