Affinity Internet set to raise £21.3m in techMARK listing

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The Independent Online

Affinity Internet, a provider of software tools and services which let companies sell goods over the internet, yesterday said it will raise £21.3m as it moves to a full listing on the London Stock Exchange. The cash will help fund its alliance with Vodafone AirTouch.

Affinity Internet, a provider of software tools and services which let companies sell goods over the internet, yesterday said it will raise £21.3m as it moves to a full listing on the London Stock Exchange. The cash will help fund its alliance with Vodafone AirTouch.

Affinity, which is an internet service provider to organisations including Arsenal Football Club, is seeking admission to the official list of the London Stock Exchange after trading on the Alternative Investment Market. Its shares, which rose as high as 8,496p on 2 February this year, rose 180p, or 15.5 per cent, to 1,337p yesterday.

Affinity has approximately 450 customers, including the Royal Bank of Scotland, and egg, the online bank, and operates in three countries. It also resells telecommunications services, such as mobile phone access, and provides billing systems. It is transforming internet content from more than 500 providers so it can be used on Vodafone's wireless application protocol, or WAP, portal. WAP allows the sending and receiving of data on wireless applications, such as mobile phones.

''We basically outgrew AIM,'' chief executive, Wayne Lochner, said. ''A full listing has a certain kudos and means we'll have more access to institutional funds.'' The £21.3m raising was oversubscribed, he added. A listing is expected on 24 October. The London Stock Exchange requires technology companies that have been listed for less that three years to raise at least £20m.

Affinity will trade under techMARK, the London Stock Exchange's market for innovative technology companies. The company will sell 2.4 million new shares at £10 with shareholders having rights to one new share for each existing nine. It first sold shares in April 1999 on AIM, raising £2m and raised a further £19m in December last year.

It has made six acquisitions, using its shares, including Taxi Interactive, a service that finds the best price for goods, for £12m in December, and Mister Mail, an online magazine company, for £750,000 in April.

On 8 September it reported a first-half loss of £4.5m, from £1.7m the previous year as sales rose to £4.5m, from £960,000 a year earlier.

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