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RealTime IT News

WebCentral Forecasts Asian Push

[Sydney, AUSTRALIA] Internet hosting service provider WebCentral has forecasted plans for a round of capital raising to fund its Asian expansion plans.

As forecasted by the company late last year, WebCentral is reported to be planning a capital raising of over $20 million.

Though WebCentral declined to offer an exact figure, maintaining that the amount was "under negotiation", WebCentral's Asia-Pacific marketing vice president Stephen Johns said the hosting company was looking for "strategic funding - that is, a company that can assist us in our further expansion into Asia."

Johns said WebCentral had already begun this process, leveraging the company's relationship with 49.4 percent ASX-listed shareholder FTR Holdings to gain access to a number of potential partners.

"We are already established in Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong with staff, and data center setup," Johns said. "We will use the funding to strengthen our presence there."

Johns said WebCentral saw an Asian rollout as important to expand business. "We have 30,000 accounts in Australia, we are number one in the market," he said. "We want to take our solutions to potentially lucrative markets like Japan to grow our business, and improve shareholder value."

The announcement comes as the company announced record December sales of $1.8 million, up 150 percent on the corresponding period last year.

The addition of increased December figures means the result for December translates into annualized revenue of more than $21 million, according to WebCentral.

Chief executive officer Lloyd Ernst said the results positioned WebCentral as one of the leading providers of managed hosting services in Australia.

"WebCentral has continued its strong growth despite the downturn in the technology sector," he said. "Strong growth was achieved in all divisions of the business and reflected the strength of its broad range of products and services and the diversity of distribution channels."

The company will continue its push into wholesale distribution, hoping to add clients like Compaq, IBM and HotKey to a network already including OzEmail, Citysearch and UUNet.

In a further move, WebCentral has strengthened its management team with the appointment former McKinsey consultant and Suncorp Metway general manager Andrew Spicer as chief operating officer.