Asia Travel Network to seek listing on Nasdaq

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 13 (Asia Pulse) - Asia Travel Network Sdn Bhd (ATN), aMalaysian on-line reservation system provider, will restructure its organisationand shareholding before seeking a listing on Nasdaq in the United States, saidits chief executive officer, Alex Kong. The restructuring would involve the formation of a holding company abroad inone or two months as a strategic move for ATN (asiatravelmart.

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 13 (Asia Pulse) - Asia Travel Network Sdn Bhd (ATN), a Malaysian on-line reservation system provider, will restructure its organisation and shareholding before seeking a listing on Nasdaq in the United States, said its chief executive officer, Alex Kong.

The restructuring would involve the formation of a holding company abroad in one or two months as a strategic move for ATN (asiatravelmart.com), an MSC-status company, he said in an interview. Following the formation of the overseas holding company, it would in turn own the current Malaysian entity which would be turned into a research and development (R&D) centre.

The holding company would also channel the necessary funding for the Malaysian operations. Kong said the holding company would become the vehicle for ATN to seek a listing on Nasdaq, the exchange for hi-tech stocks, within the second half of next year. Should the company succeed in its Nasdaq listing, ATN would be the first Malaysian company to be listed on the exchange via "the front door", he said. One MSC-status company, TechnoChannel Technologies Sdn Bhd, which operates "MyWeb", got listed on Nasdaq in February this year following a reverse takeover. TechnoChannel emerged as a major shareholder of Asia Media Communications Ltd of United States following an execise involving Asia Media acquiring 100 percent of TechnoChannel via the issuance of 85 million Asia Media new common shares.

Asked about the location of the holding company, Kong said,"We are analysing this now...there are a few places." Kong said he would remain as one of the major shareholders in the holding company. However, he did not reveal the exact portion of his shareholding. After raising RM13 million (US$3.42 million) in the second round of funding from four strategic investors, ATN is now closing a US$20 million deal for the next round of funding where more global and high profile investors would participate, Kong said.

ATN currently covers about 80 countries, more than 3,000 travel suppliers and nearly 15,000 wholesale travel-products and services. It provides a platform for travel buyers and sellers from around the world to trade their travel-related products and services over a secured Internet connection.

Users can make travel reservations or book holiday packages 24 hours a day at wholesale prices. Reflecting ATN's global profile, its system accepts 10 currencies for transactions including the US dollar, pound sterling, Singapore dollar and Japanese yen. Kong said ATN has an average growth of 150 percent on a month-to-month basis for its transactions. He said last month's transactions totalled about RM1 million while this month's business was almost approaching RM2 million.

The leisure holiday market accounted for about 80 percent of ATN's transactions, he said, adding that the on-line reservations segment was now "picking-up". He said the booking trend has changed where 90 percent of the reservations were made by individuals over the Internet compared with 90 percent by travel agents earlier this year.

On the company's financial performance, Kong said turnover had exceeded the RM6 million it projected for this year while the forecast revenue of RM260 million for next year was likely to be achieved.