Equifax Inc. will launch a company in October that will provide government and private data to help companies, including credit card issuers, make marketing decisions regarding their relationships with other companies.

The Wefa Group, Bala Cynwyd, Pa., an economic forecasting firm, is providing the majority of the data that the new company, Equifax Business Geo-Metrics, will sell in a software package called ProphetPoint.

Credit card issuers could use ProphetPoint to identify business card prospects, Equifax said. For example, a user could establish certain criteria like companies that are growing at 20% annually, with 1,000 or more employees and sales revenues of at least $50 million.

The Windows-based software is a compilation of data on nearly 1,000 industries, giving users information to help them, among other things, identify and rank new markets based on growth, enhance sales forecasting, and determine the number of employees needed for establishing a new site or project.

Steve Nye, president of Equifax National Decision Systems, of which the new company will be a subsidiary, claims that no other company provides such comprehensive information in a single software package.

The software, said Mr. Nye, eliminates the need to hire consultants, who generally require months to deliver reports. Furthermore, the software allows users to continually refine and ask new questions.

ProphetPoint, which will cost $110,000 annually, also provides maps of geographic regions and segments information by government SIC industries in every county and every zip code in the United States.

Banks could also use the software from a commercial lending perspective, Mr. Nye pointed out, to evaluate the risk involved in lending to a potential customer.

ProphetPoint could provide information about the growth rate of an industry and its outlook for the future, he said.

"To have integrated economic, industry, business, and geographic information immediately accessible on the desktop is invaluable," said Linden Fellerman, general manager of the new company based in San Diego.

"ProphetPoint will offer business-to-business marketers and executives the software and data they need to gain insight into their changing markets."

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