Byline: MICHAEL WALTERS
CONGRATULATIONS to Bob Mackenzie, chief executive of National Parking Corporation. Behind the headlines hailing the [pounds sterling]800m bid from American group Cendant and the [pounds sterling]290m each for founders Sir Don Gosling and Ronald Hobson, ordinary investors can feel very happy with Mackenzie.
He has been reshaping the company and adding value over the past three years. Those who bought in December 1996 at 470p as a low-risk speculation over two or three years (or at 480p as my 1997 conservative share of the year) have done nicely. They are being taken out at 673p, a gain of 43pc.
Excellent, especially after a 35p special dividend last summer.
The cash should come in mid-May.
Quietly, BTG has done a brilliant deal, securing a major interest in the market for liquid crystal displays. That is the technology which provides the numbers and pictures on portable computers, flat panel TVs and instrument screens.
It has formed a joint company with Rolic, a Swiss subsidiary bought out of Hoffman-La Roche by Dr Martin Schadt, co-inventor in 1970 of the effect at the heart of LCD technology. Rolic has 800 patents and applications and is devising new variations constantly.
BTG will hold 25pc of the new company and handle the patenting and licensing.
It will have an appreciating asset and a flow of royalties. The potential is enormous. The LCD market is worth [pounds sterling]7.5bn a year, but could be [pounds sterling]12bn by 2000.
There is quiet progress throughout BTG, with the next figures late in May.
They should be supported by fresh efforts to help slow-witted institutional investors understand the real merits of the company. Hold tight.
Shield Diagnostics continues to make splendid progress, while the share price frustrates. Final analysis of the North-wick Park trials of the AFT test which helps indicate the danger of heart disease are due for full scientific publication later this year. But there can be no doubt that the results are highly encouraging. …