Floating on quicksand

This week's stock market volatility does not appear to have had any impact on online education company Worldschool, whose initial public offering of shares closed today oversubscribed.

Worldschool successfully raised its expected $25.5 million from a range of institutional and retail supporters, the company announced. According to Neville Miles, Worldschool's chairman, the capital will be used to fund the rollout and promotion of the company's online learning resources and educational products.

The company is still waiting for a listing date from the Australian Stock Exchange.

Gambling organisation Lasseters, which has moved extensively online, was also expected to close its IPO today but has extended its offer to May 8 as a result of the recent market movements. It is hoping to raise $40 million through its IPO.

Peter Bridge, Lasseters' managing director, described the timing for the organisation as "very unfortunate" but said he remains confident in a successful listing. "The decision on the offer is a result of market forces which are obviously outside our control.

"In interest and fairness to all investors, we postponed (the offer) to allow investors to see the offer in light of a more stable market, but we are very much committed to proceeding," he said. While Bridge was unable to reveal the extent of interest in the company as yet, he said there had been "excellent support prior to the market shakeout".

Meanwhile, other dotcom companies, including Ehyou.com, Investorinfo and Terraplanet, which are also hoping to cash in on the internet wave, have not been discouraged by the market fluctuations.

Domenic Carosa, CEO of Ehyou.com, said: "Despite recent activity on the ASX and Nasdaq, investors clearly recognise that we have a solid business model with significant future potential." Eyhou.com, formerly known as mining company Richfield Resources, recently closed its share offer oversubscribed after raising $16.8 million.

Another wannabe dotcom powerhouse, Terraplanet, which plans to list in May, said investors had not lost interest in the multimedia infotainment company in the wake of this week's market movements.

"Although it's not pleasant to be listing at this time, we are still extremely positive and are well placed to deliver value to our shareholders," said Lesa-Belle Furhagen, Terraplanet's managing director. Terraplanet's offer is slated to close on April 28 and it hopes to raise around $84 million.

Taking a different tack, Investorinfo's managing director, Kieran Kelly, believes his company will not be affected by the market developments because it is not a true internet company. Investorinfo is a traditional publishing company using the internet as a medium of delivery, he said.

"It will have no impact on our earnings. We are a profitable company that has only priced a small 10 per cent premium on our listing, and we believe we'll get it," Kelly said. Investorinfo is expected to close its $6 million IPO this week and plans to list on May 2.

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