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Netco Acquisition Delivers Momentum To Advantage

Acquisition Delivers Momentum as Advantage Rolls Out
Internet-Enabled POS

Auckland – 20 June 2000 – Advantage Group Limited (NZSE: ADV) today announced the purchase of New Zealand’s second largest reseller of EFTPOS terminals, as it prepares for the introduction of Internet-enabled Point Of Sale (POS) into the New Zealand market through the launch of ICE terminals.

The unconditional agreement will see Advantage acquire Netco’s business and assets, including a significant number of rental contracts. The business will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Advantage.
Netco has a New Zealand market share of approximately 45 percent of new connections.

“This represents a key acquisition of core relationships and marketshare as we ready to rollout Internet-enabled devices to the New Zealand market,” says Advantage CEO, Greg Cross. “The POS market has been stable - and hardware based - for almost a decade. The coming availability of a rich variety of e-commerce applications delivered to retailers through their POS terminals means that the POS business model will shift from a hardware rental model to a service-based model. It’s critical that the retail channel acquires new skillsets to deal with the opportunities of Internet enabled POS. Through this acquisition, we will fast-track the growth of these skillsets and we expect to see those capabilities rapidly replicated in other POS resellers. As we gear up for this revolution, the Netco acquisition adds significantly to our capabilities.”

Opportunities for Internet-enabled POS

“Advantage has an immense depth of knowledge in electronic payments,” says Advantage GM POS, John Tait. “The majority of New Zealand’s networked electronic payments infrastructure was developed and supplied by Advantage, including over 60 percent of today’s entire EFTPOS installed base.”

“We understand merchants needs intimately and with the purchase of Netco we plan to build on that capability in order to develop on-demand applications to offer on the upcoming ICE terminal platform. Naturally, we will continue to work closely with our existing reseller channel.”

“When we launch ICE next month, merchants will have the opportunity to integrate their POS equipment with the power of the Internet.

“The electronic payments market growth will accelerate with the introduction of Internet-enabled POS,” says Netco CEO and director Dave Spicer. “We’ve worked closely with Advantage since establishing our company, we believe Advantage are well-placed to literally change the face of this market and we are looking forward to being part of that through a larger organisation.”

“Merchant demand for electronic payment terminals at the point of sale will continue to grow, ” adds Tait. “We expect the Internet-enabled ICE terminal, with its ability to support all the related functions of a web device or PC such as supply ordering, banking and so on, will be a catalyst for accelerated growth.”

Approvals and Settlement

Advantage does not need to seek shareholder approval for this transaction. As the agreement is now unconditional, the settlement date is 3 July 2000.
Company backgrounds

About Advantage

Advantage Group Limited, an NZSE listed company, is a leading supplier of e-commerce and transaction processing solutions in New Zealand, Australia and throughout the southern hemisphere. The company has three business units: point-of-sale equipment, retail solutions and business-to-business e-commerce. Advantage provides hardware, software, transaction processing and funds transfer capabilities to enable complete e-commerce solutions.

About Netco

A 25-strong company, Netco has been based in Auckland since 1998. It is recognised as one of New Zealand’s top point of sale technology equipment suppliers. After Netco’s launch it rapidly became the leading supplier of Hypercom equipment. Together with its wholly-owned subsidiary The EFTPOS People, it is New Zealand’s leading supplier of new POS equipment.

ENDS

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