Australia to get its own IT NASDAQ

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Australia to get its own IT NASDAQ

In late 2008, Australia will have its own specialist exchange for technology companies, similar to NASDAQ in the United States and AIM in the United Kingdom. It will be dubbed the Asia Pacific Technology Exchange (APTEX), with an expected 20 companies to be listed when it opens.

APTEX has been established by a joint venture between NSX Limited, the owner and operator of the National Stock Exchange of Australia (NSXA), and Enterprise Pacific Limited - a not-for-profit company formed under the Pacific Technology Corridor Business Plan to establish Australia’s equivalent of the Atlantic Technology Corridor and Silicon Valley.

According to chairman of Enterprise Pacific, Geoff Mullins, APTEX will increase coverage of the small to medium business sector as well as being a springboard for covering Asia Pacific markets.

Mullins told CRN that there is a fundemental problem emerging with technology companies in Australia and that is they don't have a source of financial backing from venture capital organisations, which Mullins believes is nothing like true venture capitals in the US.

"This means that many Australian technology companies are failing in the market or they are lost offshore and not being supported with any type of funding from the Federal Governement," he said.

According to Mullins, there are two critical elements to the exchange; it will will deliver a capital source to emerging technology companies, and it will have a sufficiently influential voice with the Federal Government.

"The exchange will solve a major problem in this country and cement the next wave of wealth. When mining is gone we will only have our intellectual capital to rely on to bring wealth into the country," he said.

“Promotion of Australian technology - so it is not lost overseas - is critical for the country’s future and giving technology companies easier access to capital is the key to ensuring they retain a national link while becoming globally competitive,” he said.

Mullins claimed the location of APTEX in the Pacific Technology Corridor is another step towards establishing a precinct, which would create 50,000 new jobs by 2020.

The Honourable Maxine McKew MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education and Child Care and Member for the federal electorate of Bennelong - which covers part of the area of the Pacific Technology Corridor and within which APTEX will be located - helped launch the technology exchange.

According to McKew, Australia needs to become an innovation economy and “APTEX is an example of what is needed to attract capital to promote Australian innovation and technology. The 21st century role of government is to support nation building and Australia’s comparative advantage in technology and APTEX is making a welcome contribution to this objective.”

Companies listing will meet the NSX listing rules, which are intended to make it easier for smaller businesses with fewer shareholders to gain access to a capital market. Trading will occur through the NSX electronic trading platform.

Of its target 20 companies for listing when it begins trading later this year, APTEX already has six to seven currently proceeding in this direction in addition to Armatex.

NSX market capitalisation of listings is over $1 billion across 110 securities and additionally it manages a taxi licence market valued at $1.5 billion as well as Australia’s largest independent water market.

Enterprise Pacific operates with the support of the Macquarie Graduate School of Management and its Dean, Professor Roy Green, is deputy chairman as well as being recently appointed by the Australian government to conduct a review of the Australian textile, clothing and footwear industries.

Mullins claimed the exchange will be open for business in the second of half of this year, because the current financial market around the world is unsettled.

"Whilst the world market is in tumoil it's definately not the right time to open for business. However we are timing the exchange's opening to coincide with the settling of world markets," he said.

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