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Plastic Surgery From CDT's New-Look Management

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CDT seems to have put its management wobbles behind it and come up with a rather clever idea to print light emitting diodes using an inkjet printer.

The Cambridge company develops light emitting polymers - electronic plastics that glow. Yesterday it achieved a double first by developing a 2.5-square-inch full-colour ink-jet printer plastic display using its polymers and printing technology from Seiko Epson.

But these have been troubled times in plasticland. Last November, US venture capitalists Hillman Capital and Kelso bought 76 per cenr of the company for £70 million and injected a further £10 million working capital. Cue management rumbles.

The cash provided a healthy profit for a band of diverse shareholders who chose to exit, including rock dinosaurs Genesis, Young Associates led by Lord Young, and the management team led by Danny Chapchal.

Early this week Lord Young, CDT's former chairman who pocketed around £16 million from the sale of his stake in CDT, was on the case full of regret.

Formerly Iron Lady Thatcher's right hand man on the business beat, he poured his heart out to the Financial Times on his concerns about the company's strategy and recent deals. Great insight you might think, considering he hasn't been near the company in six months.

Industry sources say Chapchal departed with a fistful of dollars in one hand and a soapbox in the other, seizing every opportunity to whine about the new owners for having the audacity to suggest changes to the company's strategy.

With Chapchal officially off the CDT payroll at the end of this month, feisty Irishman Danny McCaughan of Nortel fame is at the helm.

His latest bit of plastic surgery could mean a glowing future for the firm.

The device shown yesterday is a shot in the arm for LEP, a technology which promises ultra-thin, flexible, low power displays. The ink-jet printing process developed by Seiko-Epson promises to be significantly more efficient than liquid crystal device (LCD) manufacturing methods.

According to McCaughan, CDT and Seiko-Epson are now working to perfect the manufacturing process, and expect to bring the first displays to market for mobile phone and PDA applications within two years.

For once, Young and Chapchal were unavailable for comment. ®

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