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16 February, 2006 - 08:07 By Staff Reporter

Flotation or trade sale are weighed in balance by Antenova

Innovative antenna company Antenova has reached a critical juncture in its development and is weighing up which ‘liquidity event’ will best suit the business and its investors.

 Antenova says that it will “possibly” provide an exit for investors within 2006. But given the continued strong growth of the mobile industry and the number of deals it has signed or are in the pipeline, Business Weekly understands that this forecast should be upgraded to “probably.”

The global handset and laptop RF antenna markets are predicted to grow to over $2 bn by 2008. But the timing of the next step is all important, the company says.

The company has developed small, high-performance antennas for mobile phones and wireless devices.

The principal selling points of the technology, in an area that has been somewhat left behind in the mobile and wireless boom is that it takes up less space in a device, uses less power, gives better reception and is less affected by the nearby environment.

Greg McCray, Antenova’s CEO, told Business Weekly that his company had still genuinely not decided whether it will float or go the trade sale route: “We have not yet decided the best path, but we are constantly reviewing the situation and it is now on the agenda at every board meeting.

“Although both the company and the market in which we operate are growing fast, we are in no hurry.

“This year is important in that the deals we sign will determine how big the multiples are when its exit time.

“Our plan this year is to continue to deliver our technology and get our valuation up as high as possible.”

McCray will speak in general terms about the thought processes the company is going through in making its decision.

He describes the allure of “continuing with the company’s vision” and access to “lots of public money” when discussing an IPO.

He stresses however, that Antenova’s board is not looking beyond the AIM market, for the moment at least.

He says that a niche player like Antenova would have difficulty garnering attention on NASDAQ, for example.

Again, timing is more important than mode of exit. “From the cases that we have observed, floating too early can have serious consequences.

“Companies rush to float, miss their profit or revenue targets, get beaten up by the market and don’t recover.”

McCray says the company has received app-roaches from potential acquirers on an annual basis, stretching back to when he first joined the company in 2003.

 

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