Tatt's may hit jackpot - Sunday 12th of June 2005

TATTERSALL'S shareholders look set for a huge windfall when the company lists on July 7.Indicative trading by spread betting agency IG markets has seen "grey'' Tattersall's shares rise as high as $3.88 - valuing the gaming giant at $2.7 billion. Applications for shares in Tatts closed last night heavily oversubscribed as investors scrambled for the small number on public issue. Of the 700 million shares on issue, only 100 million were part of the public offer with an application price of $2.90 a share. But as little as 10 million of these shares may have actually been available, depending on demand from people with preference such as institutions, clients of the float manager and licensed operators of Tatt's lotteries and gaming machines. Brokers have warned that the scarcity of stock could force initial trades in Tattersall's to unrealistic levels.

 Tolhurst Noall's Marcus Padley drew parallels with the AMP float, which traded as high as $45 on the first day of trading before closing much lower at $23. IG Markets spokesman David Skilton said overseas "grey" trading in initial public offerings had been a reasonably accurate guide for trading on the exchange. "We have got a history of doing these things in the UK and they are a good indicator of the price it will go on," he said. In a speech to the Securities Institute yesterday, Tattersall's managing director Duncan Fischer said the company would be on the lookout for expansion opportunities.

"I'm sure that we'll find that there'll be some good opportunities that we'll avail ourselves of going into the future," Mr Fischer said. Tattersall's holds Victoria's sole licence for lotteries and along with Tabcorp Holdings is one of two operators of gaming machines outside of Melbourne's Crown Casino. Tattersall's operates about 13,500 poker machines in Victoria. It also operates lotteries in Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT and holds a 10 per cent share in the national lottery of South Africa.

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