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SCOTS INTERNET FIRM FIRST UP FOR FLOTATION

Sunday Herald - 0000-00-00

by Darran Gardener

INTERNET service company Iomart will be the first Scottish company to float on the stock exchange this year. The flotation looks set to take place in March, taking advantage of the current hot web market.

The internet 'lifestyle' company has grown rapidly since its formation in 1998 and now employs more than 60 people at an internet service centre on the Isle of Lewis. The company specialises in selling goods and services through its own free internet site, Madasafish.com.

Glasgow-based Iomart operates a UK-wide internet infrastructure in partnership with the global network company Above.net and US firm Sun Microsystems. The company was set up in 1998 by Angus MacSween and Bill Dobbie, two former senior members of Scottish Telecom.

In 1989, the two founded the tele-marketing company Teledata and sold it to Scottish-Telecom - the telecommunications division of Scottish Power - for more than 10 million in 1996. MacSween and Dobbie were the masterminds behind Scottish Telecom's acquisition of Demon Internet in 1998.

Madasafish.com provides a range of downloadable products including music and online games and sells internet technology such as MP3 players.

Iomart plans to develop additional internet services, each tailored to different 'internet clubs' on the web. Chairman MacSween has previously said he wants to build the Scottish ISP into a 100m company.

Graeme Clark, an IT analyst at Sutherland's stockbrokers, said: "Demand for internet stocks is huge but you never know when sentiment will change. If I were a chief executive, I would get to the market as soon as possible."

An Iomart spokesman said: "We are examining the possibility of going public. Nothing has been decided yet - it's a case of 'Watch this space'."