Celltech happy on share offer

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The Independent Online
CELLTECH, the biotechnology company coming to the stock market, yesterday declared itself very pleased with the 1,700 applications for shares that it received in its public offer, although it was only one-quarter subscribed, writes Paul Durman.

Celltech received applications for 1.8 million of the 7 million shares. The public offer shares had already been placed with institutional investors, subject to clawback.

Peter Allen, finance director, said the Stock Exchange requested a substantial public offer because of the size of the total fund-raising. Celltech has sold pounds 50m of shares priced at 250p, and will have an initial market value of about pounds 180m.

Mr Allen said that, given the nature of its business, Celltech had never tried to attract the short-term investors who sometimes 'stag' new share offers. It will be at least three years before Celltech makes its first profit.

Celltech is the first British biotechnology company to make a public offer. Mr Allen said most of the 1,700 applications had been from private investors.

British & Commonwealth, the insolvent financial services group that was Celltech's largest shareholder, has raised about pounds 18m by reducing its stake from 36 per cent to 19.9 per cent.