Winner by a nose

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THE STOCK market can sniff out a new investment later this year with the flotation of a British company that has developed the first electronic 'nose', writes Nuala Moran.

Aromascan makes machines to measure and record smells. It has already sold about 25 systems, costing pounds 20,000 each, and it boasts an impressive list of users including Ford, Coca- Cola, Whitbread and the European Space Agency.

Alan Syms, managing director of Aromascan, says the breakthrough in aroma- recording has great financial potential. 'Think of the market value of technologies which record what you see - cameras, camcorders and so on - or what you hear - radios, tapes and CD systems.'

The flotation of the company, a spin-off from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, is being handled by the stockbrokers Peel Hunt and the merchant bank NM Rothschild. The aim is to raise between pounds 10m and pounds 15m.

The company has also been offered pounds 10m in venture capital by one of the water companies, which wants to use the nose for monitoring sewage works.

Innovation, page 8