Three more firms to seek flotations

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The Independent Online
Three companies announced plans to seek stock market listings yesterday, including a manufacturer of satellite and cable TV decoders and a lingerie retailer that hopes to open more than 100 stores in the UK over the next few years.

Separately, Nigel Whittaker, the former Kingfisher director who left the retail group in a boardroom clear-out last year, has emerged as non- executive chairman of Cardcast, a company that specialises in combating credit card fraud.

Shares in the company were priced at 85p last month and start trading on the Alternative Investment Market today. Cardcast has developed a database of stolen cards which it communicates electronically to retailers' computer systems. It is raising pounds 1.7m from the float. The company declined to reveal Mr Whittaker's salary or how much time he would be spending with the group.

Pace Micro Systems, which claims to be Europe's largest maker of satellite receivers, is the largest of the new listings announced yesterday. It is hoping to achieve a full listing of the company by the end of June in a float that will value the company at around pounds 200m.

The company develops, makes and distributes receivers and decoders for satellite and cable television transmissions. It was founded in 1982 and is still wholly owned by its four main directors including chairman David Hood, who owns 64 per cent, and chief executive Barry Rubery, who controls 26 per cent.

Peter Morgan, former director general of the Institute of Directors and former chairman of the electricity company Swalec, was appointed as non- executive chairman of Pace last month.

Vanguard Medica, a Guildford-based bio-pharmaceutical, hopes to raise pounds 40m from a float on the main market next month. No ordinary shares are being sold. The placing with institutions and other investors will enable the company to concentrate on the development and commercialisation of drugs, rather than their discovery, the company says.

La Senza, the lingerie and sleepwear chain, confirmed plans to seek a listing on AIM in a float that will raise pounds 15m.

Formed in Canada in 1990, it has been testing stores in the UK for the last 16 months. It has 22 shops in Britain but hopes to extend the number to more than 100 over the next few years.