London dresses up high-tech

In an attempt to increase investor interest, the London Stock Exchange has devised a new mechanism to plug its high technology and biotechnology companies. Beginning in November, companies on the main exchange list falling under LSE's definition of high-tech will be highlighted in a new index called the techMARK.

At this point, 170 companies will be included in techMARK, including 28 biotech and three pharma companies. The companies will maintain their presence on other FTSE indexes, but companies trading on London's Alternative Investment Market (AIM) are not included.

The techMARK is intended to increase the visibility of technology companies to both institutional and private investors. According to LSE spokesperson Jeremey Hughes, technology companies will get attention because "fund managers tracking the techMARK would have to buy stock in all the companies in the index."

Indeed, David Porter of healthcare corporate finance at Nomura said the bank "would be interested in assisting fund managers establish tracker funds." As a result, he said, "if you are an emerging health care company, you will get some attention."

There also is speculation that bioinformatics companies may be able to take advantage of new changes to Chapter 25 of the LSE listing requirements that are intended to make

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