02/04/2008 - 22:00

Deals for services exporters

02/04/2008 - 22:00

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Western Australia is best known for its mining and agricultural exports, but in the past month a handful of local companies and institutions have announced deals that will widen the state’s export profile.

Deals for services exporters

Western Australia is best known for its mining and agricultural exports, but in the past month a handful of local companies and institutions have announced deals that will widen the state’s export profile.

The deals have been in sectors as diverse as education, financial services, waste management, and aquaculture.

Think Smart Ltd, which has developed technology for rapid processing of point-of-sale credit applications, has added Italy to its international portfolio and confirmed plans to enter the US market.

It has entered the Italian market through an agreement with PC City, the 16-store computer retailing arm of electrical retailing giant DSG International.

ThinkSmart founder and CEO Ned Montarello said the company would use its existing processing infrastructure base in the UK.

“Our expansion into Italy has mirrored the low-cost entry model we successfully launched in Spain three years ago,” he said.

“It’s the same business model and platform we will use for stages 1 and 2 of our expansion into North America with Office Depot, the world’s second-largest office supplies retailer, commencing in the second quarter.” On a separate front, waste management company Aneaco Ltd has begun a site assessment in the UK.

AnaeCo is commercialising a system for treating municipal waste and is currently building its first plant for the Western Metropolitan Regional Council in Perth.

It is drawing up a list of the top 10 local authorities in the UK its DiCOM system will be most relevant for.

It follows the lead of GRD Ltd subsidiary Global Renewables, which has secured what could be a company making waste treatment contract in the UK.

AnaeCo managing director Tom Rudas said “population density and the regulatory environment mean that the momentum away from landfill to alternative waste technologies is even greater in UK than in Australia.

“Local authorities there are urgently seeking waste recycling solutions and right now there is no dominant technology.” In the education sector, Curtin University and Navitas have announced an in-principle agreement to develop and manage a new university campus in Singapore.

Curtin has been a leader in the sale of education services to international students, through its Perth campus and a Malaysian campus.

Curtin’s vice-chancellor, Professor Jeanette Hacket, said it began delivering programs in Singapore in the mid 1980s, and has built longterm partnerships.

“This project would enable current operations with our Singapore partners to be consolidated into a campus in the heart of Singapore,” said Professor Hacket, who described the project as “a marathon, not a sprint”.

“Curtin and Navitas have already committed a significant amount of time, money and research to this process and we are eager to see this campus grow and excel in the long term to offer quality programs to students in Singapore and the region.” All courses offered at the Curtin Singapore Campus will be approved by Curtin, which will retain control over all academic matters.

Navitas will be responsible for the recruitment of students, will provide teaching staff, premises, administrative support, library and computer facilities and will assist in the preparation of the enrolled students for Curtin examinations.

Curtin and Navitas have previously collaborated on a university campus in Sydney, which Navitas manages.

Another WA company looking to export its skills and expertise is Cell Aquaculture Ltd, which is focused on two government-backed production joint ventures in Malaysia.

Cell has a committed joint venture with Terengganu state government subsidiary, Terengganu Agrotech Development Corporation (TADC) and a Memorandum of Understanding with Sarawak State government subsidiary, ASSAR Fishery Sdn Bhd.

The first stage of the Terengganu venture has commenced fish production, and plans are now in place to expand production to over 1,000 tonnes per annum within the next 24 months.

Negotiations are currently being finalised on the Sarawak production joint venture, which will have a projected production of approximately 700t/year.

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