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Viglen sees Field Of Dreams as shares fail to soar

Viglen shares failed to soar on the UK PC vendor's first day of trading as a separate entity to Amstrad. However, the London-based firm put a brave face on it and detailed bold plans to grow its market share by at least 50 per cent in the next 18 months.

Viglen shares failed to soar on the UK PC vendor's first day of trading as a separate entity to Amstrad. However, the London-based firm put a brave face on it and detailed bold plans to grow its market share by at least 50 per cent in the next 18 months.

Viglen was trading at about 65 pence towards the end of the day, down from its listing at 72.5 pence. The company stressed that less than one million shares of a potential 120 million had been traded, suggesting shareholders have faith in the company's performance.

"It's a little lower than we would have liked but it represents tremendous value as it is undervalued," said Bordan Tkachuk, chief executive of Viglen. "People are keen to hang on to their shares. Because we have been a subsidiary of Amstrad we haven't reported separately and analysts have been conservative, but people know there's a good underlying story."

Amstrad supremo Alan Sugar, who will sit on the Viglen board, told the board today that he is "not seeking to reduce his shareholding in the foreseeable future" because of the low valuation of the shares, according to a statement issued by Deutsche Morgan Grenfell (DMG), the company's adviser. DMG had earlier advised Sugar to reduce his 35 per cent stake to 10 per cent as "it would be preferable if no single shareholder held a substantial stake in the new group".

Tkachuk said that the new Viglen will reverse its previous policy of "steady as she goes" in pursuit of raising its current market share from eight per cent to 12-14 per cent.

He said that Viglen will seek to strengthen sales to corporate, public sector and education as market conditions "sort the men from the boys" and Viglen attempts to build brand awareness. "Our brand hasn't enjoyed general market exposure," Tkachuk said. "The great unwashed know Dell and we need to be able to compete with that. If we build it, they will come: it's a Field Of Dreams situation."