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May 11, 2007

Car tracking group reveals plans to move into Asia and South America

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Engineering|Africa|Flow|Africa|Flow|Product|Services|Solutions|Operations
Engineering|Africa|Flow|Africa|Flow|Services|Solutions|Operations
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High-technology group Altech has announced its intentions to push the proven technol- ogy of Netstar stolen-vehicle recovery (SVR) operations into the global arena.

The company has franchise arrangements operating in Malaysia, whereby it receives a royalty flow from the franchise operators. Altech is now seeking to enter into a 50:50 arrangement in Malaysia, which will result in a joint controlling interest in the company.

“A binding heads of agreement has been signed by all parties concerned, and certain conditions precedent to the transaction remain to be fulfilled, including a valuation being performed by one of the big four auditing firms,” says Altech CEO Craig Venter.

Described as being an exceptionally profitable entity, the equity from operations in Malaysia would be a beneficial addition to Altech.

Venter also hints at opportunities for Netstar to expand into South American countries, such as Brazil.

Altech owns the intellectual property for the technology involved in SVR and is the market leader in South Africa, with year-on-year market growth of 16%. The value of vehicles protected exceeds R49-billion.

Altech Netstar is constantly investing large amounts of capital into research and development, hoping to lower the cost of SVR hardware. Continuous product re-engineering in line with develop- ing technology and customer trends is taking place. Venter explains that the SVR market is an extremely price-sensitive one, and a small price adjustment makes a huge difference.

“Altech has segregated Altech Netstar’s fleet management business, forming a separate company called Altech Netstar Fleet Management Services (ANFMS). In addition to this, a black economic-empowerment transaction was concluded with Nariku – a company led by Dr Enos Banda. All conditions precedent to the transaction were fulfilled by March 31, and the company now holds 25% plus one share in ANFMS,” comments Venter.

With its new entry on the fleet-management side (FMS) of opera-tions, Netstar has increased its market share from virtually 0% to 8% over the financial year. Venter explains that Netstar would like to further capitalise on the FMS of operations and is looking to secure arge contracts in this area of business.

Fleet management allows for vehicles to be constantly tracked and monitored and can report on harsh braking or accelerating, excessive idling or whether vehicles enter no-go areas.

Altech Netstar accounts for about 8% of Altech’s total revenue. Altech Autopage (60%), Altech UEC (13%), Altech NamITech (6%), Altech Arrow Altech Distribution (5%), Altech Alcom Matomo (3%), Altech Alcom Radio (2%), Altech Card Solutions (2%), and Altech Isis (1%) are further operations contributing to overall revenue generated by the company.

Altech reported that revenue increased by 12% to R6,8-billion, for the year ended February 28. “Overall, things are looking very healthy, and the company aims to capitalise on group strengths and strong local market positions,” concludes Venter.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu
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