Cellular supplier to float

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The Independent Online
A SMALL British technology firm that leads the world in mobile telephone network equipment is to be floated in the autumn, writes Diane Coyle.

Filtronic Comtek is demerging from its parent, the defence supplier Filtronic, to raise pounds 25m in a placing that will value it at about pounds 50m. It will market two-thirds of the shares in Britain, and the rest in the US. More fundraising is likely in two years, possibly through a listing on the Nasdaq stock market in the US.

Filtronic was founded in 1977 by David Rhodes, a Leeds University professor. Comtek has become one of the biggest suppliers of microwave filters, which sort signals in cellular base stations. The number of cellular subscribers rose 36 per cent in Britain last year, and 46 per cent worldwide.

The company puts its share of the pounds 250m market at 4 per cent and is aiming for 10 per cent by 1997. Its only large competitor is Allen Telecom in the US, with 20 per cent.

In the year to May 1994, Comtek made pre-tax profits of pounds 1m on sales of pounds 10m. Profits could be pounds 3m this year.

Oxford Glycosystems, a spin-off of the city's university, is poised for a Nasdaq listing inNew York when the market picks up. The company, in which the university will retain a 5 per cent stake, will use the funds to set up a drugs discovery division.

Innovation, page 4