New master for blue dog

dingo blue was a wholly owned subsidiary of Cable & Wireless Optus (CWO) and is the first division of the company to be sold under parent company, Cable & Wireless' restructure.

AGL announced plans to expand out of the energy market last December, Bill McLaughlin, group manager corporate affairs for AGL said. AGL was not specifically interested in acquiring a telco company, but was interested in entering the telecommunications market he said.

The company has already made investments in other telco-related companies including IP wholesale carrier COMindico Holdings and broadband fibre-optic network provider, TransAct.

"We have been keeping an eye out for sometime. [dingo blue] fitted the model," he said. dingo blue, which launched in mid 1999, offers internet, mobile, international, long distance and local telephone services and recently launched its own credit card in conjunction with the Bank of Queensland.

Providing services through an online gateway, dingo blue will continue to operate under its own brand and will provide a new platform for AGL's retail technology commerce business, officials said.

According to AGL managing director, Len Bleasel, the acquisition will allow AGL to offer bundled packages of gas, electricity and telecommunications products and services.

Additionally, dingo blue's online experience, including trading systems, call centre facilities and customer management IT platforms, will be important, he said. "As a consequence, AGL will be able to offer a suite of telecommunications products and services to our 2.5 million gas and electricity customers," Bleasel said.

AGL expects the acquisition to become earnings positive in its first full year.

Dingo blue currently has around 74,000 customers across Australia, and conducts more than half its transactions over the internet, including billing, payments and purchasing.

According to McLaughlin, dingo blue will operate as a separate business unit, reporting into AGL. It's current management team, lead by CEO Martin Peach will remain intact, he said.

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