POITOT, SYNDICATE - The Intaki Bank has secured funding for an extensive interstellar R &D; program, its spokesman revealed during a delayed Quarterly Reports meeting today. The project will be run on behalf of parent body The Syndicate - which was recently granted licenses to key astromechanical patents - and while no official confirmation has been given, most analysts agree it will be almost certainly focused on starship technology.
Intaki Bank CFO Mesybier Echard refused to comment on the nature of the research program, and when asked when he expected the investment to pay off he would only say that "it will take time - obviously we're hoping we'll see marketable results soon, but you can't rush these things". He was more willing to discuss the recently-awarded patent licenses, saying that, "the Empires have been trying to keep [the smaller factions] out of the market for decades. We've had the facilities and the expertise to perform this sort of research for a while, but the patent issue has prevented us from legally doing so."
When asked what had prompted the breakthrough, he answered, "As you no doubt know, the Khanid Kingdom has been lobbying for these licenses for many years, and we learnt earlier this year that they'd finally succeeded - although this wasn't made public knowledge at the time. Once word got out that the precedent had been set, it was really only a matter of time." Mr Echard declined to comment on exactly how The Syndicate became aware of the Khanid deal, but acknowledged it had been "politically convenient" that several smaller factions including The Syndicate, Mordu's Legion and the Thukker Tribe had all become privy to the information at around the same time.
The financial results announced during the meeting showed strong figures once again, and while Federal officials made their usual noises about cutting corners, substandard vetting procedures and a general lack of transparency, the Intaki Bank looks to be in good health. The only significant downturn on their balance sheet was from sales to loyalist Capsuleers, which have dropped off since the Serpentis stopped supplying The Syndicate with its notorious but popular biotech hardware. Syndicate representatives refused to be drawn on this issue, stating that, "it's not our place to comment on this matter", but an anonymous Serpentis representative was more forthcoming, claiming, "now just seemed like a good time to restructure the way our product is distributed into the channel. We're seeing healthy in-house returns, and various concerns made it prudent to consolidate our offerings at a single point-of-sale." She indicated it was "unlikely" that Serpentis products would be offered through third parties again in future, and when asked if the Sarpati family were worried about competition from the Intaki, obliquely commented, "the Corporation's original core competency was R&D;".