LONDON -- Celltech Group plc announced last week that itraised about $74 million (50 million pounds) in its initial publicoffering on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

The company placed 20 million shares at 250 pence per share,sold as ordinary shares of 50 pence each, in the largestflotation in the United Kingdom biotechnology sector. Celltechnow has a market capitalization of about $261 million (176.5million pounds).

The company will retain about $40 million, with the remainingcash going to Celltech's principal shareholders, British &Commonwealth, The Prudential and Montagu Equity, who areselling 8 million ordinary shares. After the sale they will hold30.2 percent of the enlarged issued share capital. The threeprincipal shareholders have agreed not to sell further shareswithout the agreement of Baring Brothers & Co. Ltd., financialadvisers to Celltech for the placement, or before publication ofCelltech's annual report for the year ended Sept. 30, 1994 (orDec. 15, 1994 if the accounts have not been published by then).

After the issue, British & Commonwealth's shareholding inCelltech will fall from 36.4 percent to 19.9 percent. Celltech'snet cash will then be approximately $66 million.

Under the arrangements, institutional and other investors willtake 13 million ordinary shares. A further 7 million shares willbe set aside to satisfy applications under the public offer.

The closing date for applications for the shares is Dec. 2;dealings are due to open Dec. 9.

Celltech of Slough, England, announced in October that it wasseeking a listing on the LSE. The company said then that itexpected to raise $45.5 million from the sale of new shares ofcommon stock, primarily to institutional investors. BaringBrothers was the banker for the transaction; brokers wereCazenove in the United Kingdom and Swiss Bank Corp. inEurope.

The proceeds from the offering will help fund Celltech's tests ofeight drugs for the treatment of arthritis, cancer and septicshock.

-- Michael Kenward Special to BioWorld

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.