Bookham shares soar 150% on debut

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The Independent Online

Downturns on the tech-weighted Nasdaq and techMARK 100 indices yesterday failed to dent the market debut of Bookham Technology, a fibre optics components designer, whose shares soared nearly 150 per cent from their £10 flotation price.

Bookham hit $41.25 in US dealing (£24.50), giving it a market capitalisation of around £2.8bn and putting it in line to join the FTSE 100 in June. The company raised £194m through the float, which saw its shares jointly listed in New York and London.

Bookham specialises in a white-hot niche of the optical network sector known as photonics. As fibre optic networks become ubiquitous, raising the speed of internet access and other data applications increasingly depends on innovations using light waves to transmit data.Unlike many tech companies, it has been in business for a decade. Goldman Sachs advised on the float.

The name Bookham was selected by Andrew Rickman, the chief executive, who named the company after the town south of London where he was born. Its headquarters are in Milton Park near Oxford.

Bookham designs and makes components using silicon chips to generate, detect, route and control light signals in internet and data networks that use fibre-optic cable.