BTG heads for early flotation

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The Independent Online
BRITISH Technology Group, whose privatisation a year ago raised a storm of protest from Britain's scientific community, is heading for a stock market flotation this summer, writes Neil Thapar.

The company, which was bought by a management-led consortium for pounds 28m, has appointed Kleinwort Benson, the merchant bank, to mastermind a flotation that could value it at up to pounds 100m.

BTG is widely regarded as one of the world's leading technology transfer bodies. But the flotation plans could revive fears that as a private company BTG is likely concentrate on inventions that produce short- term profits, to the detriment of those requiring long-term backing.

Although plans for a listing are thought to be at an advanced stage, BTG says the float is simply an option under consideration.

The expected flotation is partly aimed at bolstering BTG's capital base for a big expansion overseas. The company believes it is the world's largest technology transfer organisation but has been unable to exploit its international potential because of limited resources.

In the year to March 1993, the company made a taxable loss of pounds 4.38m on turnover of pounds 27m, although a pounds 1.4m operating loss before exceptionals was turned round to a pounds 2m profit.