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Yes, we'll IPO – Symbian

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Symbian officially declared that it intends to IPO next year. This has been something of an open secret even before Psion's David Levin - Psion is the biggest shareholder in the private company - broached the subject in February.

Earlier this year Symbian sources indicated that the preferred exchange would be New York's NASDAQ. But now the company can't say either way, and stonewalled enquiries about the subject yesterday. In fact the company put out an eleven-point "FAQ" in which nine of the answers were don't know, can't say, or wait and see.

Symbian wouldn't make any predictions on revenue either. The current generation of organisers ship with Epoc Release 5, and products based on what Symbian calls ER6 (it's moving away from the Epoc moniker, without having dropped it completely) are due to ship in volume early next year. The GPRS-ready update ER6.1 - which will also support Bluetooth and WAP 2.1.

In a statement, the company said it would wait until these were rolling in volume before floating the company, suggesting a mid-2001 date is most likely.

Psion itself reported impressive results showing a 47 per cent increase in sales over the same period last year. That's good but not outstanding, as last year it was still priming its Series 5MX, Series 7/NetBook, and Revo for launch. But showing a slim profit of £3 million borders on the miraculous, given the high level of the pound over this period. ®

Note for our US readers

Over the past twenty years the UK has enjoyed a bank lending rate twice as high as its international competitors, resulting in an artificially inflated sterling levels, with the consequential closure of much of the British manufacturing sector, all accompanied by a overture from the "business friendly" national press. A typical editorial published by The Daily Telegraph on 7 February 1998 entitled "Why Metal Bashers Should Shut Up Shop" explained: "Sympathy for manufacturers is no basis for an economic policy..."

Psion outsourced its own manufacturing operation several months ago, but remains an exporting manufacturer with much of its business is done overseas. So turning any kind of profit augurs well for the future providing it can continue to provide roll-out attractive products.

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