Shares in mmO2 rise 5% on first day

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The Independent Online

Shares in the mobile phone operator mmO2 got off to a good start yesterday on their first day of dealings following the company's de-merger from British Telecom. The shares rose 5 per cent to close 4p higher at 84p, making it one of the best performers in the FTSE 100 index.

MmO2 was by far the most heavily traded stock on the market with some 435 million shares changing hands. This was more than double the volume seen in Vodafone, the second most heavily traded stock of the day.

The rise in mmO2 shares values the company at £7.2bn – well behind rivals Vodafone, worth around £128bn, and Orange, worth some 51.1bn euros.

Shares in the remaining BT business, now known as BT Group, finished up 4 per cent at 290p.

The rise in mmO2 shares came despite research from Dataquest, which estimated worldwide shipments of mobile phones totalled 94.4 million units in the third quarter, a 10 per cent drop from the same quarter last year.

Nokia, which yesterday launched three new handsets in time for the Christmas market, lifted its market share in the quarter from 30.6 to 33.4 per cent. Motorola, the US phone maker, also lifted its market share as did Samsung. Ericsson of Sweden, which has set up a new phone venture with Sony, saw its share plummet to 8 per cent from 9.7 per cent.

Separately, Colt Telecom garnered enough support for its £400m fundraising plan from shareholders yesterday. At yesterday's extraordinary general meeting, 167.9 million votes were cast in favour of a resolution that will enable Fidelity, Colt's biggest shareholder, to increase its stake without having to make a bid. Only 6.9 million votes were against the resolution.