Two industry portals announce S$68 million merger

Auto portal PLAN-B Speed.com teams up with M&E e-commerce hub ei-Nets.

Auto portal PLAN-B Speed.com teams up with M&E e-commerce hub ei-Nets.com

SINGAPORE, 7 January 2000 – Strike Engineering Ltd and PLAN-B Technologies Pte Ltd (PLAN-B) today announced a S$68 million merger of their wholly owned automobile portal with a leading mechanical and electrical (M&E) engineering e-commerce hub backed by a revolutionary new technology.

SESDAQ-listed Strike and PLAN-B will merge their 50-50 owned PLAN-B Speed.com with ei-Nets.com, an M&E industry portal wholly owned by ArmorCoat International (AI), a Singapore-based international physical and cyberspace hub for the M&E industry, the companies said in a joint statement.

Merged entity valued at S$68 million, listing planned
The two-stage deal, one of largest mergers of two Internet firms in Singapore to date, values the merged company at the first stage at S$58 million, when it will be 58.6%-controlled by AI, with PLAN-B Speed.com owning the balance 41.4%.

In the second stage, Strike -- an M&E engineering firm listed on the Singapore Exchange’s SESDAQ -- has an option to inject a further S$10 million into the merged company, enlarging its market capitalization before a planned listing to S$68 million. If this option is exercised, Strike will hold a 32.4% in the enlarged entity, PLAN-B 17.5%, and AI the balance 50%.

Both PLAN-B Speed.com and ei-Nets.com had been independently and separately valued by an international accounting in the last ten months prior to the merger.

Internet video interactivity on normal phone lines
A distinctive feature of the merged entity is ei-Nets.com’s revolutionary technology which incorporates audio, high-resolution video, text, pictures, data and computer-aided design drawing that are “zoomable” and “clickable”, and which can be downloaded within a few seconds through normal telephone lines.

The I-Nets technology was developed by MultiScience System, whose CEO Mr Winston Wei is the Chief Technology Advisor of ei-Nets.com and its parent, ArmorCoat International. ei-Nets is the first and only vertical hub in the world created for the M&E and building industries using this patent-pending Internet technology.

“Using a unique algorithm, ‘super hybrid files’ can be transmitted and downloaded through the technology which sets a new performance benchmark for video interactivity not common in today’s portals,” said Mr Liau Beng Chye, Managing Director of AI. P>“In effect, it can replace a live product showroom with one which is interactive and virtual. With this technology, we can create an experience for buyers on the Internet which has hitherto not been possible,” Mr Liau said. “Its impact on our two portals for the automobile and for the M&E industries will be very significant indeed. More importantly, we see its widespread application for other industry-specific mega-portals.”

PLAN-B Speed.com to boost business savvy
PLAN-B will bring its business and marketing savvy in developing consumer-driven E-Commerce activity. It will combine the product-centric and consumer-driven E-Commerce strategies and skills used in developing PLAN-B Speed.com.sg with ei-Nets.com’s powerful technology.

“The merger will bring together three companies with a beginning market capitalization of S$68 million, along with cash, technology and human capital. This is a significant move by three specialist groups to exploit their business expertise and proven strengths in the Internet and its applications for the M&E and automobile industries,” said Mr Lim Soon Hock, Chairman of PLAN-B and PLAN-B Speed.com.

“The merged entity is more than the sum of two portals coming together. The added value and synergy we bring to one another are powerful and will have a significant impact in shaping future industry-wide portals in Singapore and the rest of the world,” Mr Lim said.

“We share a common vision of seeing ourselves as an e-service architect and operator, whereby we design, build and operate E-Commerce systems. We adopt a multi-industry and multi-application approach,” he said.

The merged entity will initially focus on combining the marketing and technological strengths to beef up their existing automotive and M&E web portals. The M&E web portal will pool together expertise of both AI and Strike, which are established players in the industry.

Merger accelerates Strike’s plans for own M&E portal
Strike Engineering purchased its 50%-stake in PLAN-B Speed.com for S$9 million last November when it also announced that it was planning to build its own M&E web portal.

“With this merger, we have accelerated our plans to build and manage the M&E portal. In the two months since we made the announcement we have concluded a deal with a leading M&E portal with cutting edge technology which will serve as a major boost to our operations,” said Strike’s Executive Director Umar Abdul Hamid.

“At Strike, we not only expand by organic growth but also through a strategy of mergers and acquisitions. Today’s merger marks a major step in our growth strategy to enhance shareholder value,” he said.

“Our option to invest a further S$10 million in the joint-venture underscores our commitment to diversify selectively into E-Commerce in order to boost our existing core engineering business,” Mr Umar added.

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