AEA price goes to top end

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The Independent Online
Shares for the flotation of AEA Technology were yesterday priced at 280p, at the top end of already raised expectations, after the retail offer was six times over-subscribed. The price values the former science and engineering services arm of the Atomic Energy Authority at pounds 224m.

The strong demand is expected to ensure a good send-off for the shares when they start trading today. Subscriptions totalling pounds 156m were received for the 10 per cent of the offer being sold through financial intermediaries to their clients, prompting Schroders, the merchant bank handling the issue, to raise the allocation to 12.5 per cent. Earlier this week, the Government accepted its recommendation that the indicative price range for the issue be raised by 10p to between 250p and 280p.

Even so, applications have been scaled down to roughly 22 per cent of the amount applied for, with a total overall cap of pounds 7.5m being applied to individual intermediaries before the scaling down formula is applied. Applications from employees totalling 2.2 per cent of the shares in issue have been met in full.

Sir Anthony Cleaver, chairman, welcomed the keen interest in the privatisation, the last before the election.

"This offer has had an excellent reception from institutional investors and intermediaries on behalf of their clients," he said. "We look forward to life in the private sector and to building a successful business for the benefit of investors, customers and employees."

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