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BigAir announces Initial Public Offering and completes acquisition of Veritel Wireless

  • 01 November, 2005 09:32

<p>BigAir Group Limited (“BigAir”), one of Australia’s leading providers of fixed wireless broadband services, has lodged a Prospectus with ASIC for an Initial Public Offering (“IPO”) to raise up to $10 million and to list its shares on the Australian Stock Exchange (“ASX”). Up to 40 million shares will be offered at a price of 25 cents per share. The lead broker to the IPO is BBY Limited, and the market capitalisation of BigAir on listing is expected to be $23.5 million at the offer price.</p>
<p>The company recently completed its acquisition of Veritel Wireless (“Veritel”), one of Australia’s leading mobile and portable wireless service providers, which services more than 4,000 business and residential customers using its wholesale network partners, iBurst and Unwired.</p>
<p>BigAir has already built its own fixed wireless network across Sydney, which covers the city’s major business areas. The funds from the IPO will be used to expand the company’s fixed wireless broadband network into other capital cities and metropolitan markets across Australia. BigAir also has wholesale network access agreements with the leading mobile wireless network iBurst (owned by listed carrier Commander), and the leading portable wireless network of listed carrier Unwired. BigAir intends to expand the sales and marketing activities for all its wireless services.</p>
<p>Commenting on the IPO, BigAir Chairman Mr Tony Tobin said “Owning our own wireless network and having access to the other leading wireless networks provides BigAir with significant advantages and points of difference versus the company’s land-locked competitors. Unlike most ISP’s and carriers, we do not rely on access to the copper networks to deliver our services. This provides the company with almost complete independence from the incumbent carriers which is very rare in this industry.”</p>
<p>BigAir can now provide a comprehensive range of wireless broadband solutions including high-speed connections for the office which deliver both voice and data services, as well as portable and mobile wireless services that deliver broadband Internet, email and VPN access for laptop users when on the move. The services offered to Veritel’s existing wireless customers will also be enhanced as customers are migrated across to the BigAir core network.</p>
<p>“International investment in wireless technologies continues to drive the performance and reliability of wireless equipment, enabling performance that is rapidly approaching that of some current generation fibre optic networks. Future migration to new standards such as WiMax as they become available will allow BigAir to deliver the broadband requirements of the future, at a fraction of the cost associated with extending existing copper and fibre optic networks. Wireless provides an excellent opportunity for Australia to boost its national broadband penetration rates and strengthen its position in the global digital economy without spending billions of dollars in public funds,” said BigAir Managing Director Jason Ashton.</p>
<p>The company has further strengthened its board and management team with the addition of non-executive Chairman Toby Tobin (co-founder of leading law firm Gilbert + Tobin), non-executive director Anne Lenagan (former executive director of Unilever Australia), non-executive director Shane Allan (former CEO of listed fibre optic carrier Powertel), and executive director Ivan Hurwitz (co-founder of Veritel).</p>
<p>“This offer represents an important milestone for BigAir. Having completed the acquisition of Veritel, BigAir has established itself as a leading operator in wireless broadband. Access to the capital markets will enable the company to further extend its operations and consolidate its position in this rapidly growing sector,” said BigAir Chairman Toby Tobin.</p>
<p>“Wireless broadband is the fastest growing segment of the telecommunications industry and BigAir is uniquely positioned to take advantage of this growth. Investing in our own wireless infrastructure enables us to both differentiate our services and earn a higher economic return versus leasing access to the existing copper networks,” said BigAir Chief Financial Officer Patrick Choi.</p>
<p>Information technology and telecommunications market intelligence and advisory firm, IDC has predicted wireless broadband to reach 386,000 services in Australia by 2009, at a growth rate almost three times faster than the overall broadband market, and generate revenues in excess of $243 million.</p>
<p>Through the company’s acquisition of Veritel, BigAir has evolved into the only Australian wireless provider to offer fixed, portable and mobile wireless broadband services. BigAir complements its access solutions with business-grade voice over IP (VoIP) services across its fixed wireless network. According to IDC the migration of businesses to VoIP is now underway and they expect that market to reach $850m by 2009.</p>
<p>“We believe the growth opportunity in VoIP over wireless is significant. We are already providing commercial VoIP services to a number of customers and demand for this service is increasing,” said BigAir Managing Director Jason Ashton.</p>
<p>Key Offer details</p>
<p>Offer price 25 cents per share
Number of shares offered under the prospectus 40,000,000
Total value of offer $10 million
Total shares on issue at completion of offer 94,040,000
Market capitalisation at offer price $23.51 million
Offer opens 4 November 2005
Offer closes 30 November 2005
Expected date of ASX listing 8 December 2005</p>
<p>Note: the Initial Public Offer for shares in BigAir Group Limited is made in accordance with the Prospectus lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission on 20 October 2005. Application for shares under this offer can only be made on the application form attached to the Prospectus. The Prospectus will be available during the Offer Period at www.bigair.com.au/prospectus</p>
<p>About BigAir</p>
<p>BigAir is a Licensed Telecommunications Carrier and infrastructure based ISP rolling out its own broadband network across Sydney, with plans to rollout in to other capital cities, using carrier-grade high-speed wireless equipment. BigAir is able to offer a range of communication solutions including high-speed symmetric broadband from 2M to 100M, Layer 2 and VPN services, hosting and co-location of servers in secure data centre environment, and more recently business-grade Voice over IP (VoIP) services. BigAir has end-to-end ownership of its fixed wireless infrastructure and also has wholesale access to the other leading wireless networks. BigAir is able to offer a comprehensive range of advanced wireless communications services to Australian businesses. For more information, please visit www.bigair.com.au.</p>
<p>For media enquiries please contact:
Jason Ashton Andrew Sedger/Michelle Zahra
Managing Director Porter Novelli
BigAir Group Limited 02 8424 8500
02 9993-1316 0438 387 792 / 0412 375 101</p>
<p>For information regarding the IPO please contact BBY Limited (Lead Broker):
Matt Storey Jeremy Dunlop
BBY Limited BBY Limited
02 9226 0079 02 9226 0036
mns@bby.com.au jdd@bby.com.au</p>

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