Voluntary Sector: Smithfield lands Ant's AIM remit

Ant, a set-top box interactive browser maker, has drafted in Smithfield to handle comms around its listing on AIM.

Smithfield director Debbie Potts and associate director Katie Hunt are handling financial comms for the company, which floated on the AIM this week.

Potts and Hunt report to Ant CEO Simon Woodward, who hopes to use the money raised to take advantage of the rapid growth in the internet protocol TV (IPTV) market.

Ant raised £11.2m in the run-up to last Wednesday's listing - giving the company a market value of £30.6m.

Although Ant has yet to make a profit, the company is set to break even next year and Smithfield is promoting Ant as well-placed to exploit the move to IPTV, the broadband delivery of TV to households.

Ant works with most of the main makers of IPTV set-top boxes - including Amino, Pace, Sagem, Samsung and Thomson - and supplies its browser software to more than half of the market.

In 2004 there were two million shipments of IPTV set-top boxes. Shipments are expected to number 26 million by 2008.

IPTV is also a potentially lucrative diversion for fixed-line telecoms companies whose traditional business has been squeezed by fixed line competition and the growth of mobile telephony.

Companies such as BT or France Telecom, which have large fixed-line networks, can use their infrastructure to make the IPTV market possible.

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