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Sensaura parent prepares IPO

Scipher flotation to generate £20 million for business development

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British technology development company Scipher is planning an IPO, to be completed later this year, the Financial Times reported today. Scipher is perhaps best known in the PC world for its Sensaura subsidiary which develops and licenses its eponymous 3D sound technology. Scipher claims 70 per cent of the 50 million multimedia PCs sold every year contain Sensaura chips. Supporters include Dell, NEC, Fujitsu and Compaq. Other Sensaura licensees, including ESS, Cirrus and Yamaha, account for over 65 per cent of the single-chip PC sound market. In the year to 31 March 1998, the company made a profit of £43,000 on revenues of £12.6 million. This year, its revenue is expected to have increased by 30 per cent, but a 20 per cent of turnover commitment to R&D will probably ensure Scipher's profits won't rise by anything like that figure. Still, according to the FT, Scipher is valued at around £100 million. The IPO would raise about £20 million and be used to fund new developments. The company was formed in 1996 after a management buyout made during electrical retailer Thorn's split from EMI. EMI continues to hold a 20 per cent stake in Scipher. ®

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