Talk of Emblaze Debut Sets the Market on Fire; MARKET REPORT

Article excerpt

Byline: GEOFF FOSTER

SHARES of cash-rich, Israeli-based mobile technology company Emblaze could soon be on fire.

Industry gossip suggests it is on the verge of making its long-awaited breakthrough into the UK market by signing a 'significant' order with a leading mobile phone operator.

Emblaze's specially-modified handsets should be on the market in time for the crucial pre-Christmas sales period.

The close was little changed at 1141/2p, but dealers believe confirmation of a major contract would certainly get the stock buzzing.

Emblaze has already seen strong demand for its handsets in Asia, and makes phones for Orange in Israel. It has great potential for creating a global mobile brand, and earlier this year poached Laurence Alexander, head of O2's online division and UK products, to mastermind its big push into Europe.

He was responsible for introducing devices such as the Blackberry into O2's mobile range, and has made a habit of pulling off pioneering deals.

Last month Emblaze reported a 24-fold increase in half-year operating revenues of [pounds sterling]27m, and reaffirmed its [pounds sterling]68m revenue target for the full year.

Chief executive Eli Reifman has around [pounds sterling]150m in cash at his disposal after selling off a semiconductor business and floating a minority share in one of its subsidiaries, Orca, on Aim.

Getmobile Europe, which sells mobile phone contracts in Germany, collapsed 19p to 41p. It warned that the postponement of a sales channel, and poor market conditions, will adversely impact sales for the six months to end-December. Elsewhere, dealers became a bit twitchy about US inflation and the growing prospect of further interest rate rises across the pond. It followed news of an oil-fuelled 1.9pc jump in producer prices last month - the biggest leap in 31 years.

The Footsie lost an initial 16.7 point gain to finish 22.6 points off at 5263.9.

Wall Street had its early fall on the producer prices data cushioned by a raft of favourable earnings reports from IBM, 3M, United Technologies, Wells Fargo and Merrill Lynch.

Mining stocks struck a rich seam as the record copper price sparked renewed demand for Rio Tinto, 24p better at 2218p, and Antofagasta, 9p dearer at 1479p. …