Financial Objects pulls placing after tech market volatility

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The Independent Online

The week's volatility in technology stocks proved bad news for the directors of Financial Objects, the banking software firm which yesterday pulled a share placing.

The directors, led by Roger Foster, the chairman and chief executive who holds 18 per cent of the company, had hoped to gain about £16m from the move, announced on Tuesday.

They hired Goldman Sachs and ABN Amro to place 2.2 million shares, or 25 per cent of their combined holding, having seen the shares jump from 230p in June to close on Monday at 747.5p. Thompson Clive, the private equity house which holds 10 per cent of the Financial Objects, was also due to offload 876,462 shares, to take the total placing to 8.1 per cent of the company.

A sell-off of technology shares kicked in on Tuesday however and by Thursday night, Financial Objects shares closed at 652.5p. The company said: "Due to current market conditions the directors believe it is inappropriate to proceed with the intended placing of existing shares at this time."

A spokeswoman added: "The directors have a lot of their personal wealth tied up in the company and they wanted to release some of that. They were under no pressure to do it at this time." She said that they would try again. Financial Objects shares ended 25p lower at 6,275p.

Other technology issues received a better reception yesterday. Durlacher, the finance house, announced that its flotation of, a company that invests in other dotcom businesses, was 11 times oversubscribed for the retail element of the offer.

It was the first offering by Durlacher's, which promises to treat retail investors on a par with institutions in flotations. The retail element in bizzbuild was an unusually high 45 per cent.