Tuesday, September 12, 2000

MariTEL network a step nearer
The network unit of Williams Communications , a leading international provider of telecommunications services and products for the carrier marketplace, has signed a 20-year, $93 million agreement to provide the nationwide backbone for the new marine VHF radiotelephone network being developed by MariTEL,The MariTEL network, comprising 286 radio towers connected by the Williams network, will provide encrypted, automatic voice and data communication services to commercial and recreational customers within 100 miles of America's coastal and navigable waterways.

In a separate 3-year, $12 million agreement, Williams will supply MariTEL with a comprehensive array of systems integration solutions encompassing every major aspect of network program management, design, development, implementation and operation. These managed services will include project management and network engineering, the development of operations and support systems, and management of network operations from Williams' network control center in St. Louis.

"The capacity and flexibility of the award-winning Williams network, coupled with the unparalleled expertise of our team, offers an ideal turnkey solution for MariTEL. Williams will provide a comprehensive suite of network services which will allow MariTEL to focus on its core business,'' said Frank Semple, president of Williams Network.

"MariTEL is pleased to partner with Williams Communications, an industry leader in fiber-optic network services,'' said Mitchell Hauser, president and chief executive officer of New York-based MariTEL. "Williams will provide end-to-end connectivity and network services for MariTEL's new integrated marine wireless telecommunications system.''


Offshore Systems gets exclusive rights to market advanced maritime positioning technology
John Jacobson, President and CEO of Offshore Systems International Ltd. , a leader in electronic charts and positioning systems for the maritime industry, says it has signed an agreement with xwave. The deal gives Offshore Systems exclusive worlwide marketing rights to a technology that enhances the accuracy and fault tolerance of electronic chart navigation systems.

Xwave's Dual Integrated Inertial Navigation System (DIINS) was originally developed by xwave under a contract from a Canadian Department of National Defence research lab.

DIINS receives position sensor inputs from two independent GPS receivers, two independent Inertial Navigation Systems, and other position and motion sensors, and applies sophisticated mathematical modeling techniques to derive a fix of the vessel's position. It recognizes sensor failures and degradation of data quality, and computes the most reliable position possible from the signals available.

"We're thrilled to be partnered with xwave to bring DIINS to market,'' said Jacobson. "Combining DIINS with ECPINS (Electronic Chart Precise Integrated Navigation System) allows us to offer a unique capability to our customers. DIINS gives ECPINS three important new capabilities: it combines many different position signals into a single position fix, it tells the navigator how reliable the fix is, and it continues to do so even if any or all of the sensors fail. This capability is valuable to all mariners, however, its principal application is in naval operations. Acquiring exclusive world-wide marketing rights to DIINS keeps ECPINS at the forefront of electronic navigation chart technology.''


Visma sells Visma Marine to Station 12
Norway's Visma ASA says it has entered into an agreement in principle with Station 12 BV regarding the sale of Visma's marine division. Station 12 BV will pay EUR 84.5 million for the assets acquired, and will repay debt of about EUR 5 million owed by Visma Marine ASA to Visma ASA. Adjusted for cash reserves in the SpecTec companies, the net transaction value is about EUR 85.5 million (about $73 million).

Station 12 BV is owned 65% by KPN, the Netherlands telecommunications operator, and 35% by the Australian telecommunications operator Telstra. Station 12 includes the satellite operations of KPN and Telstra, especially those aimed at the marine market.

Visma's marine division will continue as an independent division in Station 12. The acquisition involves continuation of the operations in the SpecTec Group. The association with Station 12 will create new business opportunities, and the new ownership structure will secure capital for further expansion of the SpecTec Group. As the world's largest supplier of satellite communication to the marine sector, Station 12 will be able to realize greater synergy effects than Visma can achieve.

Thomas Falck, the current managing director of Visma Marine ASA, will continue as managing director of the SpecTec Group. Knut Reed, managing director of Station 12, will be the chairman of the SpecTec Group's Board of Directors.

It is expected that the sale will be completed by early November.


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