Trouble-shooters turn to Memex

MEMEX Technology, the criminal intelligence software arm of MR Data, is set to announce three big new contracts later this week.

The US Defence Intelligence Agency has signed up Memex for a pounds 1m contract to develop its Migration Defence Intelligence Threat Data System, while the Nottinghamshire and Durham police forces have agreed to pay pounds 1.25m for Memex's Crimint criminal intelligence system.

From one arcane market to another, Lloyd's of London. Ever since it was forced to fling its doors open to outside capital a few years ago, the insurance market has seen a whirl of deals as companies break into the market. One route has been through the creation of Lloyd's investment trusts (LITs), which specialise in investing directly in syndicates but whose days, certainly for the smaller players, may be edging to a close. While LITs have been a good idea, their structure raises several questions. Lloyd's has strict rules governing the sale and purchase of these stakes, and even when you can buy or sell, it has to be done by a complex auction process. And syndicates require involved management - something LITs were not set up to provide. Passive management of these stakes can be frustrating if managers are looking on, unable to do anything as a syndicate unravels.

London Insurance Market Investment Trust has overcome this, by sheer dint of size, and has begun taking stakes in managing agents. But for many of the smaller trusts, their days must be numbered. By contrast, GoshawK Insurance Holdings looks to be on to a winning formula. Chairman David Hooker is also developing an orphan syndicate management arm, to provide reinsurance to syndicates still in run-off, and has bought in a specialist underwriter with years of experience in this niche. Meanwhile, GoshawK's agreed pounds 35m bid for Matheson Lloyd's Investment Trust will further bolster its capital base.

While the new issues market has been through a quiet patch over the past few weeks, notable exceptions include Ionica, the new domestic telephony supplier. It enters a market where a host of names now compete with the mighty BT - from the original upstart, Mercury, through to the cable companies and a clutch of other contenders, such as Energis.

Ionica will be valued at pounds 570m when it floats on the London and New York stock exchanges next month. The float will raise pounds 125m to fund a network of base stations. The company uses innovative radio technology in which subscribers' calls are transmitted via radio waves from their homes to a base station, and then on to their eventual destination.

As ever, concerns were raised about the effectiveness of valuing a start- up business on a discounted cash-flow method. The compromise seized on by SBC Warburg, Ionica's adviser, was to value the business at pounds 200m less than its discounted cash-flow model. Clearly, Ionica would not be coming to the market if management and its backers did not believe it had a future. But it is too early to judge whether the company can succeed.

On a less exalted scale, Delcam, a Cadcam software developer, is set to come to the Alternative Investment Market next month. A placing is expected to raise pounds 2.3m - of which pounds 1.9m will be new money - to value the business at around pounds 15m. Tilney & Co is the nominated broker. The company's software is used for designing complex engineering shapes. Since 1992, it has achieved compound annual sales growth of 25 per cent, and has made a pre-tax profit every year since 1989. Last year it made over pounds 1m, on sales of pounds 13.6m. It can also boast a blue-chip client list, with names like Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen, Nissan and Royal Doulton.

On Tuesday, MFI Furniture Group will announce final figures. There should be further news on the expansion and conversion of existing stores to the new "Homeworks" format, with the whole chain in this layout within the next two and a half years. MFI Homeworks are smaller stores, selling a wider range of Ikea-like products. The company is also continuing its expansion into France and Spain. Analysts forecast pounds 70m in pre-tax profit, with better margins.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Angel Di Maria is shown the red card
Roger Federer after his win over Tomas Berdych
Life and Style
News in briefs: big pants in 'Bridget Jones's Diary'
fashionBig knickers are back
James Milner is set to sign for Liverpool this week despite rival interest from Arsenal
sportReds baulk at Benteke £32.5m release clause
The controversial Motor Neurone Disease Association poster, featuring sufferer Michael Smith, has drawn a series of angry complaints
newsThis one has been criticised for its 'threatening tone'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Guru Careers: Communications Exec / PR Exec

£25 - £30K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a highly-motivated and ambitious Comm...

Guru Careers: Pricing Analyst

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst to join a leading e-...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral