Stock market float to value Civica at £90m

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The Independent Online

More Technology entrepreneurs are to join the dash for stock market glory with the announcement of plans to float by Civica, the software group whose systems process 2 million parking tickets a year for local authorities around the country.

The company's announcement comes at the end of a week that saw Cambridge Silicon Radio, a wireless technology business, also confirm plans to join the stock market.

Civica is expected to have a market value of about £90m. Management, led by Simon Downing, the chief executive, will be granted options over a 13 per cent stake. They currently own 1.5 per cent of the business. The company made operating profits before exceptionals and goodwill of £9.1m on turnover of £90.3m in the year to 30 September.

It is being brought to the market by Alchemy Partners, the private equity house which bought Sanderson, the IT services business, which was quoted before Alchemy took it private in January 2000.

In 2001, Alchemy reorganised the various Sanderson businesses, resulting in Civica becoming the new holding company for the group.

The float will see Civica raise £40m of which about £25m will be used to pay off existing owners, with the bulk going to Alchemy. However, Alchemy will retain a stake in the business while the management will also refrain from selling their shares.

As well as supplying the software that backs up systems for local authority parking fines, the company's software links the closed circuit television cameras monitoring Britain's bus lanes with local authority enforcement officers.

It also runs the software that local authorities use to administer their taxes and benefit payments. In addition, the group operates within the criminal justice, health, education and corporate markets and counts 85 per cent of UK police forces, 250 NHS trusts and more than 30 local education authorities among its clients. The company also offers consultancy services.

Civica is floating to strengthen its balance sheet and intends to use the proceeds from the float to repay debt.

Mr Downing said: "The strengthening of our balance sheet will put the group in a much stronger position to combine its clear focus on continued performance and service delivery, with an improved ability to participate in market consolidation."

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