PayPoint shares climb on market debut

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The bill payments company PayPoint, which collects a third of the congestion charge payments in London, floated 23 per cent of its shares yesterday, valuing it at £130m.

The bill payments company PayPoint, which collects a third of the congestion charge payments in London, floated 23 per cent of its shares yesterday, valuing it at £130m.

The Weinstock and Rothschild family trusts each sold about 10 per cent of their holdings, the company said. They were the main sellers of the 15.7 million shares coming on to the market at 192p each. PayPoint's chief executive, Dominic Taylor, said: "The opportunity to raise our profile among clients has been facilitated by the listing." The company did not raise any money itself.

The Weinstock and Rothschild family trusts remain the largest shareholders, retaining 13.5 per cent of PayPoint each. Cazenove and Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein jointly managed the flotation, which came two months after the group's then two biggest shareholders, BT and Electricité de France (EDF), sold their combined 54 per cent stake to a group of institutional investors for an undisclosed amount.

PayPoint operates collection systems in convenience stores, enabling customers to pay household bills, top up mobile phones and pay the £5-a-day London congestion charge. The service is free to the consumer.

The company, which does not plan to make any acquisitions any time soon, is now targeting transport ticketing, Mr Taylor said. PayPoint is also rolling out automated teller machines at the rate of 50 a month, with 601 installed by the end of August.

Since PayPoint started trading in 1996, it has built a business of more than 400 clients, 14,300 outlets and it now collects about £2bn of payments per year, the chairman, David Newlands, said.

PayPoint also released results for the financial year to the end of March yesterday. It processed more than 204 million payments with a value of £2.3bn. That led to operating profits of £8.1m on gross revenue of £67.1m. PayPoint shares gained on their debut and closed up 8.5p at 200.5p.

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