Australian Newsagency Blog

A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

Bill Express share price watch

Mark Fletcher
March 31st, 2008 · 10 Comments

Watching the share price tumble of Bill Express has become a popular sport among newsagents. Today’s 28.5% drop in their share price have been cause for considerably commentary.

It didn’t need to be this way. Had Bill Express treated newsagents differently they could have relied on their key retail network for support rather than today’s game of guess how low the share price will go.

One of my newsagencies was advised today that we are now ranked 35th in Australia for bill payment transactions. That’s 35th out of around 3,500 newsagents. We’re in the top 1%. We’re not making money from bill payment, nothing.

Bill Express could turn newsagents around if they act quickly: reinstate the $250 a month marketing subsidy; start actively promoting the network; make the IT infrastructure more reliable; improve Help Desk support; and, make running Bill Express cost less. While these are not new suggestions, maybe the new low share price will focus the attention of the Board of Bill Express.

Click here for some background on the frustration newsagents feel toward Bill Express.

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Category: Bill Express · Bill Payment · Newsagency challenges

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 John // Apr 1, 2008 at 10:46 AM

    They deserve the situation they are in, the cost to newsagents has been extraordinary. Keep at them.

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  • 2 clem // Apr 1, 2008 at 1:00 PM

    You do not say though that Bill Express has over 50% of the prepaid phone voucher market in Australia, according to their own reports that is. A company with a billion dollar turnover may be ready to forget the bill side that most newsagents don’t seem to have had the public support with. I don’t know why the public doesn’t want to pay bills at newsagents, but it seems to have been a very hard market for the newsagents to get into.

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  • 3 Jarryd Moore // Apr 1, 2008 at 3:44 PM

    Clem, Bill Payment would be a hard market for anyone to break into. Online bill payment increases every day – so naturally the instore bill payment market is continually shrinking.

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  • 4 Norman // Apr 1, 2008 at 4:59 PM

    The price is up today, 1.1 cents with turnover of nearly 28 million shares!

    Clem, as to Bill Express’s turnover, do count the payments you receive from customers as part of your revenue? I would think that the real turnover should be just the commission you receive.

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  • 5 clem // Apr 2, 2008 at 9:05 AM

    Norman, I totally agree. It is still a huge figure to be getting a percentage from.
    How profitable could they have been now if they had stuck to the dialtime and not wasted so much on the bill terminals and all the screens?
    What about the millions spent on St Kilda? The fans we asked didn’t know what Bill Express was at all. That money could have been spent at local levels for advertising. Did someone want to sit in a corporate box????

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  • 6 LUKE // Apr 2, 2008 at 3:35 PM

    The problem with the bill express platform for a regional newsagent like mine is that their are limited billers for our area only optus and Country energy. If bill express could break the strangle hold of post billpay and free up telstra and the regional councils then people would flood into newsagencies. We have a telstra shop 2 doors down and we turn away thousands of dollars in bills each week because we cannot process them. I don’t know who is withholding the billers but bill express if it wanted to be a serious player had to get these on board like bpay did.

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  • 7 clem // Apr 3, 2008 at 9:28 AM

    Luke, yep, not having Telstra was a huge blow. Councils move slowly. I do understand that the whole spectrum of billers is needed to lift the confidence in the whole system.

    The letter from ONQ about being involved in Opes Prime is not what I call good for public confidence either. There is a big case for some reputable directors to come onto the board of Bill Express and ONQ to lift the trustworthiness of the whole thing. It is at times like this that the fact that Australia Post is still government owned gives people confidence in handing over their money. Changing company names and gambling with margin loans on their own stock is not how reputable companies gain public confidence.

    Don’t let me go on for too long, there are many issues about what is happening that are not looking above board, not just the apparently broken promises verbally given by reps in a bid to sign up trusting newsagents.

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  • 8 Joe // Apr 3, 2008 at 10:29 AM

    They seem to have been caught in the Opus Prime mess in melbourne. OnQ had to buy back millions of their shares. These were shares OnQ gave to Opus for collateral. The details are at the asx website. Regardless of this new mess, Bill Express is trading at less than half their price of two months ago.

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  • 9 Scott // Apr 7, 2008 at 6:32 PM

    onq shares at $0.072

    they arent looking too good either

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  • 10 clem // Apr 10, 2008 at 10:17 AM

    Just one last thought, it is my understanding that Gerry Harvey owns about 10% of Bill Express and he’s quite an astute business man ??

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