Reverse takeover of Horizon gets SGX nod

Horizon to become significant pan-European fibre network player

Singapore, ASIA 26 February 2004 – Education and IT group Horizon Education and Technologies Limited (“Horizon”) today announced that it has received in-principle approval from the Singapore Exchange for the acquisition of Global Voice Networks group (“GVN”), a pan-European business contingency and infocommunications group that operates its own high quality fibre optic networks in key European cities.

When completed, the company will become the only pan-European network player on the local bourse and a very significant player in one of the fastest growing global industries.

GVN owns and operates one of the largest Metropolitan Area Network businesses (MANs) in Europe. Its fibre networks are located in 14 cities, including, London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Dublin, Munich, Hamburg, DĂĽsseldorf, Cologne, Stuttgart, Berlin, Hanover, The Hague and Utrecht. GVN uses its highly secure networks to provide its clients with IP products and business continuity services, which include disaster recovery services, online data storage and content delivery. GVN’s main target industry sectors are the regulatory-driven banking & insurance industry, pharmaceutical and government.

Horizon will convene an extraordinary general meeting to get shareholders’ approval for the reverse takeover as soon as possible.

Horizon’s Executive Chairman, Lt-Gen (Ret) Ng Jui Ping, said: “We are pleased with this outcome. The directors view it as a bold and better way forward which will enhance shareholder value. Horizon will once again be an exciting company to watch.”

The company said it had requested to be listed on Sesdaq and GVN’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Noel Meaney, said: “We are delighted as we will be one of the largest SESDAQ companies. A listing in Singapore will open new opportunities to us and will substantially enhance GVN’s international standing.” GVN has a strong asset base, a clean balance sheet and a progressive business model with clear earnings streams. “I am confident that investors will find ours a compelling story with strong appeal,” he added.

Mr Christopher Nightingale, Chairman of GVN, pointed out that Singapore is an excellent place to list and headquarter GVN. “The Government is business-friendly and keen to promote Singapore as a communications hub. There are many incentives for international companies such as GVN to list and headquarter here.”

GVN’s market strength is based on:

  • Low cost of ownership of very dense, well-designed city fibre networks.
  • Low gearing, as all GVN acquisitions were private equity funded.
  • Ideally located networks that include key financial, industrial and commercial cities in Europe with direct access to key customers.

To further strengthen its market position, GVN has a partnership with Hewlett-Packard (HP), whereby GVN is a provider of access services to HP’s European outsourcing centre in Dublin, Ireland and in addition HP’s sales force sells GVN’s services to its customer base in Europe. Horizon announced last July that it was acquiring GVN’s business and all its assets at US$85 million, which were originally built at a cost in excess of US$500 million.

About Horizon Education & Technologies Limited

Horizon was established in 1995 and listed on the Singapore Exchange in January 2000, with its headquarters in Singapore. The Group is a leading education and technology company with two business divisions: Education/ICET and IT based businesses.

Horizon’s Education/ICET division provides educational solutions to customers in the K-12, Tertiary, Corporate Training markets. Related companies include Horizon Educom, Horizon PlanetIQ, Horizon bBand, Horizon Education Group, Knowledge Alive (joint venture between ST Electronics and Horizon), International Centre for Early Childhood, Horizon Knowledge Solutions (formerly known as Postkid.com) and a joint venture with Nasional Montessori. Horizon’s IT based businesses provide IT outsourcing solutions, management support systems and integration of ERP systems for Town Councils in Singapore. Through the development of customised education, Education/ICET and IT based products and services; Horizon plans to expand throughout the Asia Pacific.

About Global Voice Networks (GVN)

GVN is a pan-European service provider of IP products, Fibre VPN’s and secure on-line contingency based services, including disaster recovery, IT out-sourcing, storage on-demand, content delivery networks (CDN), Virtual Private Networks (VPN’s) and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to enterprise customers across Europe.

GVN delivers its services to clients over highly secure fibre optic networks that it owns & operates in fourteen (14) cities across Europe, namely, London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Dublin, Munich, Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Cologne, Stuttgart, Berlin, Hanover, The Hague and Utrecht. In addition GVN owns a duct network that connects its German cities and eight high bandwidth international circuits that uses to connect its European cities to each other.

GVN acquired its city fibre network assets from Metromedia Fibre Networks Inc. (MFN). The assets are recognized as world-class end-to-end fibre networks built to exacting standards at an aggregate cost in excess of US$500 million.

For more information please contact: Horizon: Wayne Koo at (+65) 96904959 or wayne.koo@horizon.com.sg Waterbrooks Consultants: Judy Kan at (+65) 96315053 or judy.kan@waterbrooks.com.sg or Nora Cheng at (+65) 96347450 or nora.cheng@waterbrooks.com.sg

About euNetworks

euNetworks is a bandwidth infrastructure company, owning and operating 17 fibre based metropolitan networks connected with a high capacity intercity backbone covering 51 cities in 15 countries. The company leads the market in data centre connectivity, directly connecting over 430 today. euNetworks is also a leading cloud connectivity provider, directly connecting to all key cloud platforms with access to additional platforms. The company offers a targeted portfolio of metropolitan and long haul services including Dark Fibre, Wavelengths, and Ethernet. Wholesale, finance, content, media, data centre and enterprise customers benefit from euNetworks’ unique inventory of fibre and duct based assets that are tailored to fulfil their high bandwidth needs.