ASG Opens Development Center in Belfast, Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Office Serves as Software Firm's European Development Hub

NAPLES, Fla. and BELFAST, Northern Ireland/Thursday, October 23, 2003/Business Wire - ASG, a worldwide enterprise software and professional services provider to Global 5000 companies, announced today the opening of a development center in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The $6 million investment is expected to draw top-notch technology professionals from the regional talent pool to strengthen and enhance ASG's position as a leading enterprise software company. ASG will begin recruitment immediately for the Belfast office. Software development is planned to begin January 2004.

ASG President and CEO Arthur L. Allen said, "ASG has a strong devotion to research and development. We pour nearly thirty percent of our resources back into research and development. This adds value for customers and strengthens our competitiveness in international markets. We hope that our support for this investment will help transform Northern Ireland into a dynamic, innovation-driven economy - allowing us to better compete in the global marketplace."

ASG's initiative in Belfast is in line with those of Invest Northern Ireland (Invest NI), which replaced the Industrial Development Board for Northern Ireland (IDB) to combine the expertise and experience of IDB with key government agencies. Invest NI provides business-decision support to companies hoping to expand into Northern Ireland.

Joe Burke, Atlanta-based vice president of business development for Invest NI said, "This is a significant investment by a successful and ambitious U.S. company that will bring a broad range of new technologies to the software industry, which is among Northern Ireland's most important business sectors."

Allen was extremely pleased with the quality, service and expediency of Invest NI. "When we began the search for a location, we had four priorities: readily available, skilled people; competitive overall costs; excellent telecommunications; and accessibility. Invest Northern Ireland provides a very competitive value proposition that meets all our requirements. I was highly impressed by the agency's quick response to all my inquiries and the organization's overall professionalism," said Allen.

ASG evaluated a number of locations around the world, including China, India and Russia, and chose Northern Ireland because of the abundant availability of high-quality graduates in disciplines such as software, electronic engineering and mathematics from two, first-class universities. Allen was attracted to the Northern Ireland location because of the efficient accessibility and "open door" approach to industry by the centers of excellence in software, informatics and electronics at Queen's University and the University of Ulster, which have longstanding track records of working closely with companies in the development of new technologies.

"Since R&D is an essential feature of our business model, we intend to develop close relationships with both universities to facilitate fruitful and productive two-way technology transfer benefits," said Allen.

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