Generics seeks £213m listing to fund growth

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The Independent Online

Senericg, a technology consultancy that invests in and advises new companies, said yesterday that it would seek a Stock Exchange listing to help provide the funding for its future growth.

Senericg, a technology consultancy that invests in and advises new companies, said yesterday that it would seek a Stock Exchange listing to help provide the funding for its future growth.

The group set an indicative price range of between £165 and £230 a share, valuing the company at £213m at the mid-point. At this price, Gordon Edge, Generics' founder and chief executive, will have a stake worth £19.8m after the float.

The offer is not open to retail investors but will be restricted to institutions and "certain others", which a spokesman said meant company employees.

Generics hopes to raise nearly £50m from the issue. It is expected to announce a 100-to-1 share split, to increase liquidity, as early as next year.

Commenting on the initial public offering, Professor Edge said: "[It] will enable us to enhance the growth within our business and to participate in an increasing number of opportunities in intellectual property, spin-outs and external technology-based investments."

Generics is involved in more than 80 technology projects. Its development pipeline ranges from a piece of medical equipment designed to minimise injuries caused by surgical needles, to an engineering tool for cash machines that accurately measures the thickness of paper currency. The group's consultancy clients include Tesco, AstraZeneca and Invensys.

Among the 28 spin-off companies in which Generics has a stake are Flying Null, which exploits magnetic tagging technology; Imerge, a home media services producer, and Diomed, a medical lasers manufacturer. In September, the group acquired Genesis Medical Technologies, a US-based medical devices firm. In October, it exercised an option to purchase shares worth £1.2m in Avantium Technologies.

In the year ended 31 December 1999, Generics made a pre-tax profit of £1.8m on ordinary activities. Its total turnover was £19.8m. In its pathfinder document, issued yesterday, the company described its current trading as "encouraging". But it added that costs for the remainder of the current year were expected to increase and "may not be offset by income on disposal of investments". It warned that this could produce a "negative impact" on full-year profits.

Generics was started in 1986. It is domiciled in Switzerland but operates from a disused mill on the outskirts of Cambridge.

As a private company, the group has been backed by Catella Holdings, a venture capital firm which is part of the Ikea group.

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