Thomson investors make big gain in first day

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TENS OF thousands of investors who were denied the chance to buy shares in Thomson Travel Group due to administrative problems with its flotation missed out on a profit of up to pounds 121 each as the shares soared on their first day on the stock market yesterday.

Shares in the United Kingdom's largest tour operator leapt to 211p in early trading, representing a 24 per cent premium to the 170p flotation price which was itself at the upper end of the price range the company had set for investors. The shares closed at 193.5p yesterday, valuing Thomson at pounds 1.9bn.

Angry investors who were denied shares are now calling for compensation from the share shops who were responsible for delays in registering potential investors and sending out application forms.

Thousands of investors who registered for shares well in advance of the flotation closing date last Thursday failed to receive forms in time to apply shares.

The debacle marred what has been the most popular flotation for years. One million people registered an interest in buying Thomson stock and more than 500,000 private investors have successfully steered their way past the administrative chaos to qualify for shares. They will get 294 shares each worth pounds 500 at the flotation price.

The flotation was so popular that Thomson had to increase the number of shares allotted to the public from the 10 per cent originally planned to 17 per cent. Even then the offer was subscribed many times over by private investors.

Official trading in Thomson will start next Monday when private investors' share certificates are issued.

SFA to investigate share shops, page 19