Iris Recognition Company Argus Solutions Now Listed on Australian Stock Exchange

SYDNEY -- Iris recognition technology company Argus Solutions Ltd will list on the Australian Stock Exchange after raising $15 million in its initial public offer. Argus' business is based on the development of software and hardware applications using iris recognition, a form of biometric scanning of the eye that identifies people by the unique characteristics of the iris. The company offered 75 million shares at 20 cents each in the offer, implying a market value upon listing of $34.9 million. Argus was established in 1999 after signing a re-seller agreement with Iridian Technologies Inc of the US to introduce iris recognition to the Australian market. Iridian was the first company in the world to develop and patent iris recognition algorithms and software. In turn, Argus has developed and filed patents for iris recognition related solutions, including an internet hosted identification service called AKITA. "We are seeing an increasing demand for this technology, particularly in Asia, the Middle-East and the US," Argus chief executive officer and one of its founders, Bruce Lyman, said. "The capital raising from the listing will enable us to access those markets more rapidly and develop individual solutions for clients." Argus said the global market for biometric identification solutions is estimated at $US1.4 billion in 2004 and has been expanding at around 25 per cent a year in the past five years. Key drivers of demand are heightened security concerns since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the US, proliferation of electronic fraud and growing demand for better ways to identify people. The company is developing facial recognition technology solutions to complement its iris business. In its prospectus, Argus said it expected to make a maiden net profit after tax and before amortisation of about $2,000 in the 2005 fiscal year. It reported net losses after tax and before amortisation of $2.1 million, $1.33 million and $767,000 in 2004, 2003 and 2002, respectively. Iris recognition technology is approved for use on government networks in 19 countries, including the US, UK and Japan.