Trafficmaster asks for more: Placing increased to enable coverage to be extended

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The Independent Online
TRAFFICMASTER, the in-car traffic monitoring company, is raising nearly 50 per cent more than originally planned through the placing of its shares. The placing price of 130p values the company at pounds 28.5m and will raise a net pounds 7.2m, writes Diane Coyle.

Trafficmaster will use the money to extend its service beyond the current coverage - motorways in the South-east - to motorways and trunk roads nationwide.

It has more than 2,000 subscribers, including the transport minister, John McGregor, and fleet customers such as the AA and BT. The company has new contracts to supply Trafficmaster on PCs to Hilton and Forte for hotel lobbies.

David Martell, chief executive, said a big European car manufacturer had in the past few weeks asked for a quotation to install Trafficmaster units in a 1995 model range.

So far Trafficmaster has made operating losses, up from pounds 448,000 in 1991 to pounds 835,000 last year, partly because of the pounds 2.3m spent on product development and infrastructure. Sales rose from pounds 320,000 in 1991 to pounds 823,000 in 1993.

The company is placing 34 per cent of its shares. Existing shareholders include Peek, the traffic management systems company, which will retain a 14.7 per cent stake. Dealings are expected to begin on 31 March.

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