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ihug Settles into iiNet

ihug Settles into iiNet

Established New Zealand ISP ihug today announced that it has today unconditionally joined forces with ASX-listed iiNet Limited (ASX: IIN) to become one of Australasia’s largest ISPs. The company has now completed the merger of its business with iiNet’s, and this will continue to operate under the “ihug” brand in New Zealand and Australia.

iiNet shareholders approved the transaction at a meeting last Friday (17 October).

In addition to approving the transaction, iiNet shareholders also voted to appoint ihug Chairman, Keith Goodall, Auckland chartered accountant and company director, to the Board of iiNet. A second New Zealand director will be appointed at the iiNet Annual Meeting in November.

The total consideration paid was A$30.1 million in cash and 23.7 million shares in iiNet. As a result of this transaction the shareholders of ihug now hold 30 pecent of the shares in iiNet. Shares in iiNet closed yesterday at A$3.07.

“We are delighted with the positive response this transaction has received from the market,” says iiNet Managing Director, Michael Malone. “It makes iiNet the fifth largest ISP in Australia and ihug the third largest in New Zealand, with a strong base of loyal customers in both countries.”

The two organisations have begun to integrate their financial and information technology systems.

“Our 300,000 customers in New Zealand and Australia will see new services introduced as we merge the two business operations,” says ihug Chief Executive, Martin Wylie. “Innovation is an important part of ihug’s brand and of the value that iiNet sees in us.”

About iiNet and ihug
Founded in Perth, Western Australia in 1993, iiNet has grown organically and through selective acquisitions to the point where today it has 130,000 current subscribers in Australia, up from 72,850 12 months ago. It is the second largest provider of DSL services in Australia. For the 2003 year iiNet generated revenues of $40 million, up 54 percent from the previous year. The Company reported a net profit after tax of $5.2 million and paid a final dividend of 4 cents per share.

In October 2003 iiNet purchased the business and assets of privately owned, New Zealand-based ihug, one of Australasia’s largest Internet Service Providers. The company has 170,000 current subscribers across broadband, dial-up and telephony products in New Zealand and Australia. It also provides wholesale broadband and satellite access and web services to telecommunications operators and ISPs in both countries. The company has achieved its position from a culture of continuous innovation, which includes New Zealand’s first flat rate Internet access plans, high-speed satellite access and telephony services.

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