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New Investors Acquire ARNOLD


New Investors Acquire ARNOLD - Leading Australasian On-line Travel Business

Direct Capital in conjunction with new management announced today that it had purchased the software, customer contracts and operating assets from Penzance Technology Pty Limited, the owner of ARNOLD, a leading on-line travel booking engine.

The new company, Arnold Travel Technology Pty Limited ("ARNOLD"), has been funded by Direct Capital, one of Australasia's prominent Private Equity Players, allowing ARNOLD to increase market penetration and to continue to develop new features.

Adam Johnson has been appointed Managing Director of ARNOLD. Mr Johnson was recently Managing Director of Sybase Australia/New Zealand. He, together with CTO Paul Thompson, will lead a new staff of ten who have transferred to ARNOLD from Penzance.

Adam Johnson said "I welcomed the chance to lead the management buy-in of ARNOLD after due diligence on the software, there quality of the people who created it, the favourable customer references and most importantly, securing substantial capital to allow ARNOLD to trade and grow. All three issues checked out so the business going forward looks very positive".

Mr Johnson said it was fantastic that a software product like this could be developed here which effectively competes with globally developed products, but leads them in its ability to access the vast amount of travel-related data and present it as meaningful travel information to enable the travelling customer to book on line.

Arnold Pty Limited continues to supply and fully support its ARNOLD booking engine to its current customers and the transfer has been seamless.

****About Arnold

ARNOLD'S web-based travel booking engine has established itself as a major player in the IT and travel market place. ARNOLD has operations in Sydney and Auckland.

The ARNOLD system allows agents or consumers to check flight availability, check fare rules and restrictions, book and pay for flights within two minutes. It has a clean and simple graphical interface, negating the need for training to use the product. The key to the ease of use and speed of the Arnold system is the calendar-based interface for selecting flight travel times and availability.

ARNOLD's CTO, Paul Thompson said there were a number of key differences between ARNOLD and competitive web-based booking systems. Primary among these is its ability to access multiple air fares databases with both published and net fares.

Mr Thompson also says ARNOLD easily handles complex fare structures involving multiple airlines, sectors, classes, stopovers and combination fares. Agents can adjust mark-ups depending upon which world region they are operating in or whether it is a domestic or international fare.

ARNOLD Version 4 was released two months ago into live production sites and includes features such as: - hotel and car bookings - XML for faster more reliable interfacing - Fully customisable presentation layer and confirmation emails

ARNOLD is currently the on-line engine of choice for leading Australian and New Zealand travel agency groups such as Carlson Wagonlit, Harvey World Travel, Webjet, Tek Travel, Travelmall, Travel Smart, eFlights.co.nz and also the booking engine on the TVNZ owned site, www.nzoom.com.

***Direct Capital Private Equity Limited (www.directcapital.co.nz)

Direct Capital is a leading private equity investor, having invested more than $150m into 30 privately owned businesses since 1994 through three managed funds, DCPE I & II, TMT Ventures and Carter Holt Harvey Venture Capital. Direct Capital invests in medium sized Australasian businesses, usually alongside majority shareholders that are experienced operators in their industry.

Direct Capital invests in companies that have strong growth opportunities and value additional input or capital (or both) to help drive the value of their shareholding. Direct Capital's primary focus in its investee businesses is on increasing shareholder value, and on putting the company and its shareholders in a position to capitalise on that increased value.

***Adam Johnson ? Managing Director - Arnold

Mr Johnson has been in the IT industry in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, having worked for Wang and Sybase in the past. He was part of the startup which was acquired and became Sybase in Australia and New Zealand. He was promoted through to Managing Director of Sybase in the Australasian region.


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