City & Corporate: QinetiQ moots agency hire for planned listing

QinetiQ, the former Ministry of Defence science and technology research arm, is understood to be in talks with financial communications agencies ahead of its planned £1bn listing.

Head of media and corporate affairs Nicky Louth-Davies insisted it had not begun a pitch for work around its IPO, which could take place later this year.

But Louth-Davies, who joined QinetiQ from MORI last February (PRWeek, 27 February 2004), would not rule out the appointment of an agency within the next year. 'We are not holding a pitch,' she said. 'I talk to agencies all the time. It is not inconceivable that we would appoint a financial comms agency (for the IPO).'

Formerly the research and development arm of the MoD, QinetiQ was formed in 2002 and partially privatised in 2003, with private equity firm Carlyle Group taking a 31 per cent stake.

In February QinetiQ chief executive Sir John Chisholm told The Independent that late 2005 'could be the window for an initial public offering'.

Chisholm said the company would have to be doing well, with markets receptive and shareholders ready to sell for the flotation to go ahead.

QinetiQ made an operating profit of £26.2m for the six months to 30 September 2004, up from £21.3m on the previous year.

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