US owners weigh £150m float for superfoods company

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The Independent Online

TyraTech, a company developing parasite-killing super-foods for the developing world, has hired the banks Nomura Code and Jefferies to advise on a possible £150m float.

TyraTech is majority-owned by XL TechGroup, a US investment firm listed on AIM, the London Stock Exchange's junior market. XL incubates companies before selling them on or listing them on the stock exchange. It aims for its portfolio companies to achieve a valuation of $400m within four years - TyraTech is in its third year. Analysts and market sources said that the company would fetch up to £150m in an offering later this year.

XL's chief executive, John Scott, in London last week to meet with investors and analysts, declined to comment on the immediate plans for TyraTech. As well as hiring the banks, the company appointed Douglas Armstrong as its new chief executive. Mr Armstrong is the former head of Aastrom Biosciences, a Nasdaq-listed biotechnology group.

TyraTech signed a development deal last month with US giant Kraft Foods to develop foods that contain compounds to kill intestinal worms, which are estimated to afflict more than two billion people worldwide and remain a leading cause of diarrhoea, anaemia and arrested child development. The food giant hopes that the so-called "functional foods" will aid its entry to markets in the developing world.

XL founded TyraTech after Syngenta, the crop chemicals giant, pointed to the need for safer insecticide ingredients for use in Europe.