Annual General Meeting: Chairmans Address
Thursday, 30th November, 2000
Good morning ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to welcome you all to Market
faxts' first annual general meeting and to thank you for taking the time
Our first year as a public company has certainly been one of mixed fortunes
and, given all the publicity and speculation about the technology sector
and its new players, we welcome the opportunity today to talk to you face-to-face
about what we've achieved over the past year and our plans for the next
Despite the significant marking down of technology stocks this year,
which has had an equally significant impact on Market faxts' shareprice,
our confidence in the medium to long term vision for the company remains
as strong as it ever was.
We are developing a multi-faceted information distribution business
– an infomediary – drawing revenue from a number of areas. We are not
a one-dimensional business heavily dependent on e-commerce revenue like
many of the other so-called ‘dotcoms' on the market.
On the contrary, our future strategy is to continue to use whatever method
of distribution, traditional or new-economy, is best suited to deliver
the most useful range of independent information to consumers and providers.
I will let Chris Gosselin, our CEO, describe this strategy to you in
On an operational basis over the last year, management has worked hard
to ensure the company builds its business within the constraints placed
upon us in a competitive technology industry in which the honeymoon appears
well and truly over.
While our original revenue forecasts were not met, management has focussed
on containg costs, resulting in the company having conserved its cash
reserves better than many companies in the sector. Mr Gosselin will also
comment upon this in more detail shortly.
Unfortunately though, however much promise our business vision may hold
for the future, it is clear that revenue generation from the internet
is taking longer than most observers originally expected. This has been
the major cause of the fall in stock prices in the sector, and has no
doubt contributed significantly to the fall in our own share price.
In this environment, your directors, therefore, felt that they had three
major responsibilities to shareholders:
- To maintain a conservative management approach to building the core
business as described above
- To maintain cash reserves and not squander these on extravagant advertising
campaigns or other overheads
- In recognition of the fact that the vision is taking longer than expected
to realise, to seek out corporate alliances and acquisitions with like-minded
companies which complement Market faxts' operations and through which,
with the advantages of considerably greater critical mass, we might
deliver immediate increased value to shareholders.
We have examined some 28 such corporate opportunities over the last 12
months but again have been careful not to rush into the first deal that
As most of you will know, talks with two parties in particular, Telco
and Isis Communications, led to formal takeover offers being made.
In considering our response to these takeovers we attempted to obtain
the greatest possible value for shareholders whilst at the same time trying
to maintain Market faxts' identity and ongoing business.
In the end, as you also know, the board decided that neither offer was
in the best interests of shareholders and both, therefore, should be rejected.
As far as Telco is concerned, the board was unable to identify sufficient
synergies between Telco and our own business. Telco has some minority
interests in internet-related companies but it is unclear how any synergies
between these interests and market faxts could be extracted for your benefit.
We believe Telco intended to effectively use Market faxts as a venture
capital business which would have changed the nature of the internet-based
company in which you originally chose to invest.
While the Isis Communications offer at first looked attractive from the
point of view of our aim to seek strategic partners that complemented
our business model, the deterioration in Isis's sharemarket position made
its offer of 1 Isis share for every 3 Market faxts shares far less attractive
than when it was first tabled.
In the end, this bid did not offer shareholders what we believe to be
the true value of the company and we, therefore, decided to reject it.
Isis have extended their bid but to date I am informed that Isis have
received acceptances for less than 1 per cent of Market faxts shares.
The board remains open to the idea of a strategic alliance and we are
keen to consider opportunities as they arise – indeed several new opportunities
are under discussion currently, although these are at too early a stage
to make any definitive announcement. However, any such partnerships or
alliances must allow Market faxts to continue to develop the business
model we have outlined, and must recognise the value of the business as
it currently stands.
In summary, we would dearly like to be able to stand before you today
as directors able to tell you that our share price continues to improve
and we have no major impediments to unbroken growth ahead. This is not
the case, but equally we are able to tell you that in extremely difficult
external circumstances we are managing the business tightly, and we have
conserved our cash position so as to be able to take advantage of the
right acquisition or corporate deal, when we are sure that the correct
opportunity has been found.
Despite the current difficulties of both the business and the technology
sector overall, therefore, we still believe that the future remains bright
for your company.
For more information:
Chief Executive Officer
PH:  9247-6788
MOBILE:  537 830
City Public Relations
PH:  9281 7272
Note to editors:
At its annual general meeting in Sydney yesterday, Market faxts Ltd shareholders
approved a resolution to change the name of the company to InfoChoice
InfoChoice.com.au is Australia's
leading infomediary, providing independent, comparative data for consumers
in the banking, telecommunications, investment, travel and insurance markets.