28 November 1997

Trade Genus shares any day

By Tim Relf

FARMERS with Genus shares will be able to trade them on a daily basis from next Monday.

The new set-up makes use of OFEX, a mechanism used by companies not listed on the stock exchange.

Genus hopes this will free up trading, compared with the old system, which had just two dealing days a year. These saw only about 100,000 shares change hands out of a total 23m

Chief executive, Richard Wood, says the move marks an interim measure before a full flotation within three years.

Until then, he says, shares will continue to trade at a discount to their true worth. And this, in turn, will mean the company remains vulnerable to predators.

Only recently a City-backed consortium abandoned its hostile bid for Genus. And defending that cost £250,000, says Mr Wood.

Stockbrokers Nielson Cobbold suggests a share price of about 105p is appropriate. At this level, the yield would be 3.6% and the company would be worth £24m.

Farmers looking to buy or sell can either use Neilson Cobbold (who will charge 1% commission), their own stockbroker or a high street bank. Offex prices are published daily in the Financial Times.

Meanwhile Genus has released its interim results for the six months to Sept 30, 1997. They show a 28% rise in operating profit to £1.3m on a turnover of £23.7m (up 2.5%).