Byline: ROBERT JONES & SION BARRY
CARDIFF-based educational software company Birchfield Interactive is planning a flotation on the London Stock Exchange later this year.
The company, established four years ago, said it would most likely be on the Alternative Investment Market and would further accelerate its growth, especially into new markets in North America and Europe.
The flotation which is planned to coincide with the expected upturn in equity markets in the third quarter of this year, would increase the number of Stock Market-listed companies in Wales to 22.
The company has built up a large portfolio of classroom-learning software products for schoolchildren of all ages, including those based on lifestyle issues such as the dangers of drug-taking, as well as mainstream curriculum-based subjects.
The company, which is expecting a pounds 1m turnover this year, said the flotation could raise up to pounds 3m.
The company's chief executive, Chris Griffiths, said the company had reached the stage where it had achieved rapid growth without institutional investment, but the time was now right for flotation Mr Griffiths, 31, added, "We want to be seen as a leading listed Welsh company, of which there are very few.
"This will help us achieve our aim of becoming the largest independent educational software company in Europe in three to five years' time.
By 2003, the company, which currently employs 21, plans to increase staffing levels to 55.
The company has just finalised a deal with a leading merchant bank that will give it additional resources in the run-up to flotation. …