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MaxBill will reach profitability in Q1 2002, says chairman Himmelman

Says startup holds its own against rivals Portal, Convergys thanks to 'full solution'

MaxBill will break even in the fourth quarter and will reach profitability in the first quarter of 2002, Chairman Hadar Himmelman told yesterday.

Sales for 2001 will rise 70% from the previous year to $6 million, Himmelman estimated.

He added that the startup, which provides customer care services and billing solutions, plans to raise capital from international strategic investors.

To date it has installed its systems at 12 international communications companies. VP Business Development Roy Safit said that in November MaxBill signed a major deal in Spain. Earlier in the month it won a $3 million contract to integrate CRM and billing systems at Scarlet Telecom/One.Tel of the Netherlands. Scarlet provides voice and Internet services to over a million customers in Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg.

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MaxBill's rivals include multinational Portal Software (Nasdaq:PRSF), which has achieved a market cap of $356 million, and the British firm Geneva Technology, which merged in March with Convergys (NYSE:CVG). Convergys' market cap is $5.6 billion.

Himmelman attributes MaxBill's progress, in the face of powerful competition, to its provision of full solutions that support all the existing technological innovations in the market, at low cost.

Also, MaxBill is allied with major technology and business consultancy firms, such as Electronic Data Systems (NYSE, LSE:EDS), IBM Corporation (NYSE:IBM), Accenture, and T-System, which specializes in integrating technology systems in Europe, and is jointly owned by Deutsche Telekom (NYSE:DT) and DaimlerChrysler (NYSE:DCX, DAJ).

In mid-2000 MaxBill secured $8 million in a financing round led by P3 Technology Partners, a European venture capital firm that is backed by the Dutch bank ING. Existing investors also chipped in, as did the Israeli venture capital funds CMZ and Azritech.

MaxBill was founded in 1997 by Hadar Himmelman, President Michah Himmelman, and Kirill Rechter, who heads its R&D. It employs 100 people of whom 40 work at its R&D center in Petah Tikvah.