Excel Technology International aims to acquire other software solutions companies to strengthen its regional prospects. Chief executive Peggy Chan Mei-chu said the Growth Enterprise Market company was in talks with several companies in Asia, including one in Hong Kong. As part of Excel's regional expansion, it will set up additional offices in Southeast Asia and the mainland. The company has an office in Guangzhou and is planning to set up software-development centres in Shenzhen and Beijing. The company is in talks with a Singapore company on an alliance to promote business. It planned to launch an application services provider, Ms Chan said. She said more than half of the company's revenue was expected to come from outside Hong Kong by 2002. Excel's future plans also include investing between HK$30 million and HK$40 million on developing integrated banking software for treasury and corporate banking use, and an insurance product called insurance21. It hopes to raise between HK$202.5 million and HK$210 million from a planned share offer to fund expansion, according to sources. They said the company intended to sell 150 million new shares, or 15 per cent of Excel's enlarged share capital, at HK$1.35 to HK$1.40 per share. This would value the company at about HK$1.4 billion. The listing vehicle's businesses include Excel's software holdings in Hong Kong, Greater China and the rest of Asia, a 37.5 per cent stake in application services provider i21, and a 10 per cent stake in online game company Net Fun. Excel formed i21 with iBusiness Corp, an e-commerce joint venture set up by Cheung Kong (Holdings), Hutchison Whampoa, HSBC Holdings and Hang Seng Bank. Three strategic investors, including Cheung Kong, Singapore's United Overseas Bank and United States venture capital firm ChinaVest, were brought in through a private placement at the end of March. Ms Chan said the company was sitting on a cash bank of more than HK$100 million after the placement. Excel has no debt. She said Cheung Kong would hold more than 10 per cent in Excel if it exercised the zero-coupon convertible notes after the listing. Excel would proceed with the listing despite weak sentiment for technology companies, because it would be good for the company's development, Ms Chan said.