citychap

Archive for the ‘communications’ Category

Carlyle Group Sniffing Around Filtronic

In communications, stocks, technology on June 3, 2008 at 9:34 am

Wireless electronics group Filtronic plc has attracted the attentions of US private equity player Carlyle Group – and the markets are interested.

Prompted by an up-tick in fully listed Filtronic’s share price, Carlyle has said it is ‘reviewing its options’ in respect of Filtronic (LSE: FTC), which ‘could include an offer’. Filtronic shares, which slumped from 291.5p to 59.5p between 2005 and earlier this month, have perked up to 77.5p on Carlyle’s expression of interest, at which level the company is valued at £57.2 million.

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Upbeat Update from Intelek

In aerospace, AIM, communications, it hardware, stocks, technology on April 25, 2008 at 1:10 pm

Electronic communications systems specialist Intelek (AIM: ITK) is reporting that underlying profits will ‘comfortably’ exceed market expectations.

The AIM-quoted company, which made £5.6 million pre-tax profit in the year to March 2007 on £37 million turnover, supplies electronic systems for satellite and microwave communications, as well as precision parts for the aerospace market, reports progress throughout its divisions.

Based in Swindon, Intelek, increased ‘underlying’ pre-tax profits 45 per cent to £1.48 million in the six months to September and now says ‘strong trading’ continued throughout the financial year to last month.

A bright light stock during these dark days. Worth looking over.

Optilan MBO

In communications, it, it systems, telecoms on April 4, 2008 at 3:30 pm

NVM Private Equity has backed the management buy-out (MBO) of Coventry-based telecoms network provider Optilan. The firm has invested more than £5 million in the MBO, which is led by Optilan’s CEO and co-founder Richard Buckland.

Optilan designs, installs and maintains telecoms systems for the oil and gas, transport, power and utilities industries. These are sectors with long lead-time for investments and where markets remain relatively strong. A good combination.

The company has 200 employees, the majority of whom are engineering and technical staff, and satellite offices in Moscow and Qatar.

In addition, news that NVM has exited Technology for Business, a Hampshire-based provider of IT systems for law firms.

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.

Colt Telecom Reports Profitability

In communications, stocks, telecoms on February 25, 2008 at 2:48 pm

Ever since reading the famous ‘Hacker Tourism’ guide by Neal Stephenson titled Mother Earth Mother Board the business of fibre optics, cable laying and data transportation have been fascinating to City Chap.

In the 1990s Colt Telecom Group plc was one of the first companies to start digging up our roads and installing fibre optic cable to compete with BT in the business telecoms market.

Interesting news then that when Colt plc announced its first ever full financial year profits last week – after a wait of 15 years mind – the main driver of growth in the company was also reported to be from its data offerings (+9.8% growth in turnover) whilst revenues from voice calls continued to decline (-19%). So less telecoms, per se, and more ‘Net Coms’.

Pre-Tax Profit = £29.6 miillion – 12 months to December 31st 2007
Turnover = £130 million
No dividend was announced.

Synchronica hunting for more cash and more markets

In AIM, communications, e-mail, it hardware, software, wireless on February 20, 2008 at 4:34 pm

Bombed-out AIM company Synchronica (AIM: SYNC) has raised £2 million – only one month after saying it had ‘sufficient cash to meet its present needs’. Cough, cough. Its 2007 report showed losses halved at £3 million and it had previously reported raising £1.87 million at 6.25p in a prior issue.

The mobile communications specialist latest shares placement was at 7p through broker Seymour Pierce – cash which is earmarked to expand its sales and marketing operations in emerging markets that lack elaborate existing communications networks. Markets where attaching email capability to simple mobile phones could be big business. Operative word here is ‘could’.

Founder and chief executive officer Carsten Brinkschulte argues Synchronica’s Mobile Gateway 3.5 ‘push’ email and synchronisation software is ‘geared to the specific requirements of emerging markets and can deliver email to more than three billion phones worldwide’.

Brinkschulte contributed £20,000 to the latest placing. He has been trying to steer Synchronica back to health since it lost its way within ill-starred mobile services venture DAT Group.

August 2007 saw some positive news when Synchronica won a potentially lucrative contract with Sun Microsystems whilst more recently the company agreed an international marketing JV with Miami-based Brightstar, a leading distributor to mobile systems.

Originally floated at 130p back in 2004, the shares had topped out at 530p before collapsing all the way to 6.88p by June 2007. Mid-market today they were trading at 7.5p.  

Recommendation: Very Speculative