Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Strong support for Zotefoams float

The allocation of shares in Zotefoams, the specialist maker of block foam, is set to be scaled back, despite the flotation price of 145p in the straight placing with institutions only being announced yesterday.

"This offer has been substantially over subscribed, and Zotefoams is likely to have more than 100 institutional investors," said a spokesman for the company, which was bought out of BP three years ago for £20m and is now worth almost £53m.

Zotefoams products are used in safety and military helmets, toys, sports equipment, and hospital equipment such as neck braces and splints.

The placing will raise a net £14.2m after expenses and the cashing in of some shares by its three venture capital backers - 3i, Charterhouse Ventures, and Prudential Ventures.

Zotefoams' profits were £4.6m in 1994.

The flotation bandwagon of Expro International Group, an oilfield services company and another former management buy-out, was also set rolling yesterday with the publication of a pathfinder prospectus. Expro was bought out of Flextech in 1992 for £52m, and the flotation is expected to value the company in excess of £100m.

John Dawson, chief executive, was confident the placing and public offer of shares would succeed. "The business has progressed in the recent two to three years. We want to go on and capitalise on where we are," he said.

Expro's operating profits are forecast to emerge around £12m for the year to March.