Celltech float boost for B&C administrators

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THE administrators of British & Commonwealth, the collapsed financial services group, could realise nearly pounds 60m next month when Celltech, the biotechnology company, is expected to come to the stock market, writes Paul Durman.

British & Commonwealth has a 36 per cent stake in Celltech, which is seeking treatments for septic shock and cancer. Celltech's shares, already traded under the Stock Exchange's matched bargain rule, have recently changed hands at about 550p, valuing the company at pounds 160m. Other large shareholders, besides B&C, will be offered the chance to sell some of their holdings.

Peter Allen, finance director, said the share price had jumped from 400p in July following Celltech's recent deals with Hoffman-La Roche and Bayer.

Celltech intends to issue new shares, raising more than pounds 30m to fund its drug research. It is believed this will give the company ready funds of about pounds 50m.