Archive for March, 2008|Monthly archive page

PAQ Your Laptop

In AIM, stocks on March 28, 2008 at 11:30 am

Growth Business Investor is reporting that PAQ International has raised £1 million on AIM.

PAQ is a Chinese manufacturer of own-brand bags for mobile phones and laptops. The company also supplies its products to companies such as luggage brand Samsonite and French supermarket Leclerc. The funding is earmarked to help move the company further into the retail retail outlets inside or close to major electronics stores.

Chief executive Kelvin Yau saying that they hope to acquire other manufacturing and distribution businesses in China, as well as developing a retail business in territories including China and the UK. The company intends to position its
Nomad and broker Zimmerman Adams led the fundraising, with Hichen Harrison’s assistance as co-broker.

The company’s audited turnover for 2006 was HK$22.4 million (£1.4 million) with operating profits of HK$10.0 million.


The Non-Financial Times

In economics on March 27, 2008 at 10:48 am

An interesting discussion over at on the financial illiteracy of the Financial Times newspaper.

Much like the situation at The Economist paper, at times you just want to tear your hair out and gnash your teeth in a biblical manner at some of the editorial. In one particular way The Economist is worse since its whole raison d’etre is supposedly to defend free market economics against regressive government intervention.

As one astute commentator at Samizdata says:

The economy is none of the state’s business.

The way the state can help the economy is very simple:

1. Maintain order and property rights (police/law courts)

2. see 1.

Any questions?

The Les Paul Robot Guitar

In gadgets on March 20, 2008 at 12:57 pm

Surfing around the tech gadgets pages of Growth Business I came across the Les Paul Robot Guitar – a guitar that automatically tunes itself!

US electric guitar manufacturer Gibson can turn all six pegs to standard tuning simultaneously at the touch of a button and also gives players access to six commonly used alternative tuning presets.

Apparently, the guitar ‘talks you through’ the entire process. Whoa!

Production is on a limited run, it comes in a ‘Blue Silverburst Nitrocellulose Finish’ (nice…) and is priced at approximately £1,400 – or £1,200 at the new global CFD rate.

Belgravium Technologies Improves profitability

In computers, it hardware, technology on March 19, 2008 at 11:50 am

Mobile computing systems specialist Belgravium Technologies has lifted annual pre-tax profits 11 per cent to £2 million despite falling turnover. The Bradford-based company had warned last year that customers were becoming more cautious and cutting their capital expenditure and it saw turnover fall 2.9% to £10.6m in the year to December 31. However it improved its pre-tax profits to £2.05m from £1.84m last time thanks to contributions from its Touchstar and Novo businesses.

Chairman John Kembery said the profit growth demonstrated its world leading status in mobile computing systems for logistics and retail markets. “These results demonstrate the inherent strengths within our market leading business and we look forward to the opportunities in the year ahead.” Fair dues to the man and the co. who have produced good figures against a backdrop of heightening global economic uncertainty.

Belgravium is a computer design and manufacturing company, specialising in the mobile computing and Radio Frequency Data Communications (RF/DC) market areas.

EA for GTA – It’s Gone Hostile

In digital platforms, electronic games, online gaming, software, stocks, video games on March 14, 2008 at 2:46 pm

Big news this week in the electronic and video games sector is the Electronic Arts Inc. bid for Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., owner of the GTA (Grand Theft Auto) franchise – a bid that has now gone hostile.

EA took its $26-per-share offer directly to Take-Two shareholders and the tender offer expires on April 11, only two weeks or so before the latest “Grand Theft Auto” hits store shelves. GTA is one the game world’s killer series, it has sold over 65 million copies and is considered one of the most successful video games in history. It’s also New York based Take-Two’s main source of revenue and expected to bring in as much as $1.4 billion this fiscal year.

EA’s chief executive, John Riccitiello, said timing is crucial for the deal. “We are counting on being able to achieve revenue synergies by the holidays,” he said in an interview. EA wants to use its marketing prowess to sell more of Take-Two’s games in the winter shopping season, when video game companies make the most of their money.

Take-Two’s two largest shareholders, Oppenheimer Funds and FMR LLC, have substantially reduced their stakes in the company recently, a sign they may not expect the bid to go higher, and have taken their money and run. A few analysts have said the offer could increase, but there appears to be a limit at $27 (note that the $26-per-share bid was nearly 50 percent above Take-Two’s stock price before EA’s bid became public in February).

Take-Two has said the offer doesn’t value the company’s creative talents (including GTA’s creator Rockstar Games) and its management’s turnaround efforts after Chairman Strauss Zelnick and CEO Ben Feder took over in early 2007 following a shareholder coup prompted by financial and legal troubles.

But whether said talents make it worth more than $2 billion is moot. Not from City Chap’s perspective it ain’t.

EA’s offer for Take-Two follows Vivendi SA’s plan to buy Activision Inc., its biggest rival. That deal is expected to close in the first half of this year, creating a publishing powerhouse that incorporates the “World of Warcraft,” series, the world’s biggest multiplayer online game.

Walkie Talkie Doro Ski Kit

In communications, technology, telecoms on March 10, 2008 at 1:46 pm

One week in a relatively quiet Meribel, with decent snow to boot, and city chap has returned home a battered, but fresh, person.

A contact who had arrived from the Geneva bio-energy exhibition proudly explained how he had driven over using an adapted bio-diesel Audi and that an average 54 mph total trip meant that he had reduced his carbon footprint by x percent. This was surely an impressive feat I thought, as the chairlifts, piste bashers, cable cars, ski-boot heaters, terrace-heaters, Mercedes-Benz vans and Russian-owned Hummers geared their way about me.

Much more impressive was his new piece of tech kit – some Walkie Talkie Doro Ski Kit phones. These babies have a 6km range and operate via throat-mics, which allow you to communicate using the vibrations from your voice-box – this means that even in windy or adverse conditions you can still be heard clearly. I also like the voice activation mode and the PTT button that could be attached to a ski pole. Very neat. Communication is free, so no more expensive calls trying to get everyone in the group back to the same mountain restaurant, and no licence is needed. There are 8 selectable channels and 38 sub codes to each channel which gives over 300 different channel combinations – so decent privacy if you’re a Russian oligarch.

So I looked up Doro and here’s the company I found: DORO Sverige AB – ticker: DORO – STO Exchange – principal activities are the development, manufacture and marketing of communications equipment, such as telephone instruments, cordless telephones, switchboards, telephone answering machines and other equipment. The Group operates in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Australia, Hong Kong and Poland.

Advent Ventures into Wireless USB

In communications, computers, it, it hardware, technology, venture capital on March 1, 2008 at 1:01 pm

London-based Advent Ventures has joined in the latest Series D funding round at Wisair, a California-based developer of “dongles”, which allow devices such as computer keyboards, digital cameras and laptops to communicate with each other wirelessly. The round completed $24 million (£12.2 million).

Other new investors in this round are US private equity group Susquehanna Growth Equity, 40-year-old Japanese VC firm Yasuda Ventures, and Bridge Capital Fund of Japan, an affiliate fund of Tokyo-based investor Nikko antfactory. Wisair, whose technology allows data transfer at speeds of up to 480 megabits per second within a ten-metre radius, has already received $48 million in previous fundraisings. This latest round brings the total now invested in the company to $72 million. Existing venture capital investors include semiconductor specialist Broadcom, private equity giant Apax Partners, and Intel Capital, the investment arm of the US technology group.

Martin McNair, general partner at Advent, says his firm will be helping Wisair find technology partners in Europe.