Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

Black-empowered Xantium Technology Holdings becamee the first company to make its stock exchange debut on the JSE Securities Exchange SA's AltX board last week, joining five other companies that switched to AltX from other boards of the JSE.

Internet service provider Datapro is also poised to join AltX, through a reverse listing via the shell of Casey, a failed technology company.

Xantium has already placed a tranche of 10-million shares with Investec at 50c a share, and with other shares held by its managers and HSBC, no shares remain in free float for public consumption.

Xantium has only been trading since last October, but its lack of track record has not deterred Investec or HSBC from backing the business.

"Although the people in our company have years of experience, you need to show your clients that you are running a business with good corporate governance. The AltX has certainly come down hard on corporate governance and being listed will instil a lot of faith in our clients," said CEO James Murray. The R5m raised by listing will fund future acquisitions.

Directors predict revenue of R174,5m for its first full-year of trading to May 2005, and R205,4m for financial 2006.

Headline earnings a share are forecast as 7,3c in May 2005, and 8,8c in May 2006. Those targets are substantially up from its current revenue of R33,5m, a net loss of R2,2m and a headline loss a share of 1.92c for the year ending May this year. Those figures did not represent a full year of trading, said Murray, and reflected its start-up nature, not its future prospects.

The technology industry was in the early stages of revival, he said, and black-empowered suppliers would win that business because of pressure to support empowerment.

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