Saifun starts Nasdaq trade at a premium

Saifun Semiconductors Ltd. undertook its initial public offering Wednesday, pricing 5 million shares at $23.50 each, above its previously anticipated range of $20.50 to $22.50. Shares of the provider of intellectual property solutions for the non-volatile memory market, began trading on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol "SFUN." The stock traded as high as $34 in the early going but subsequently pulled back to a low of $28 before bouncing. Shares were trading at $29.28 at midday in New York. The company expects to receive approximately $104.8 million in proceeds from the IPO, which is scheduled to close on November 15. Saifun did not say what it would use the funding for and was not available for comment. Lehman Brothers, Deutsche Bank Securities, CIBC World Markets, William Blair & Co., and Raymond James acted as underwriters for the offering. They hold an option to sell as many as another 750,000 shares in the next 30 days to cover over-allotments. Saifun was founded in 1997 by its current CEO and Chairman Boaz Eitan. Before the IPO, Eitan had owned 50.8% of the company though that holding has now been reduced to 40.1%. Other major investors include IDB Corporation, which saw its stake cut to 9.9% from 12.5%. In 2004, the company posted a net loss of $37.9m., revenue of $32.2m., and operating income of $4.5m. For the six months ended June 26, 2005, it recorded operating income of $25.1m. and revenue of $44.9m. In the three months ended September 25, preliminary results show net income of $10.3m.-$10.8m., revenue of $17.5m.-$18m., and operating income of $10m.-$10.5m. Saifun's technology is used in a variety of consumer electronic products, such as mobile telephones, digital cameras, portable computers and digital video recorders. Its customers include Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Macronix International and Sony. Saifun has 226 employees, of which 223 are in Israel and three are located in the US.