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Company spotlight: NBA Quantum

FINANCE

NBA Quantum's origins date back to the end of World War II, when the National Building Agency - the Government's inhouse consultancy operation - was devolved.

The claims consultant was languishing when Peter Elliott-Hughes took charge in the 1990s but the shares have not performed since NBA floated on the Alternative Investment Market five years ago.

Part of the reason has been that, with no dividend and a market capitalization of under £3 million, there has been little reason for the management to waste time wooing investors.

Instead, they have focused on turning the business round and NBA is back in the black with a £102,000 pre-tax profit for the year to June 2004 after losing a similar sum in the previous year.

With turnover surging £1.5 million to £4.1 million, the stock would attract more interest were a dividend on the cards - unfortunately that is unlikely this year.

What should make the shares worth consideration are recent changes in the shareholding structure.

Mr Elliott-Hughes' stake stands at 36 per cent but former chairman David Ridley has sold his 7.8 per cent holding and Tiger Hawk, a vehicle for City investor Richard Thompson, has taken a 15 per cent stake.

Tiger Hawk also has a three-year option to acquire a further 26.9 per cent.

With three acquisitions in the pipeline, the firm will try to attract interest in the City by building on its three areas of operation - programme support, dispute resolution and presentation and legal advice.