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Quester VCT PLC (KAY)

  Print      Mail a friend       Annual reports

Wednesday 27 September, 2000

Quester VCT PLC

Interim Results

Quester VCT PLC
27 September 2000

QUESTER VCT PLC ('the Company')
Financial highlights

Period ended                   6 months 6 months  Year to
                                  to 31    to 31       31
                                   July     July  January
                                   2000     1999     2000
Total    return   per   share     77.7     (0.8)     32.1
Net    asset    value    plus                            
cumulative dividend per share    227.8     117.1    150.0
Dividend per share (pence)        26.7*      5.8      5.8
Cumulative dividend per share     40.2      13.5     13.5
Shareholders' funds (£'000)     57,997    32,039   42,213
Net  asset  value  per  share    187.6     103.6    136.5
Mid-market  price  per  share    160.0      90.0    150.0

*  Including 10p already paid as a special interim dividend on
1 June 2000
**  The  cumulative  dividend includes  tax  credits  paid  to
eligible shareholders prior to the abolition of ACT in 1999

The  directors  have resolved to pay a second special  interim
dividend of 16.65p per share.

Second  special  interim dividend for 2000/01  paid 1  November 2000
Associated record date                  13 October 2000



During the six months to 31 July 2000 the Company made
significant progress in terms of new investment, realisations
and performance.  This contributed to a 57 per cent gain in
the net asset value per share before dividend distributions
totalling 26.65 pence per share and represents an excellent
performance.  After payment of the two special interim
dividends, net assets per share are 187.6 pence at the half-

During the period the Company made six significant
realisations generating capital profits in excess of £10
million. In July 2000, the Company sold its investment in
First Fibre Limited to Adva AG as part of a paper transaction.
Following this transaction, the Company was able to dispose of
approximately 50 per cent of its holding in Adva realising
capital profits of £4.6 million.  The First Fibre investment
was originally made in October 1998 and therefore the
generation of this profit over a relatively short period
represents an exceptional return.  In addition to the above,
capital profits of £3.7 million and £1.4 million were made
following partial disposals of SurfControl plc (formerly JSB
Software Technologies plc) and Orchestream Holdings plc
respectively.  The Company retains significant interests in
all of these investments as can be seen from the table below.


The overall value of the venture capital portfolio continued
to rise during the half year and it is valued in excess of £24
million above original cost. This compares to an increase of
£10 million as at 31 January 2000.

The gain over the period is largely attributable to increases
in the valuations of two of the previously unquoted
investments.  The greatest gain has been achieved by
Orchestream, which, following its successful placing on the
London Official List, is valued at a multiple of over fifteen
times cost at the half year.  A further substantial unrealised
gain has arisen following the receipt of shares in Adva
following its takeover of First Fibre.  This investment is
valued at a multiple of over seven times. Additional
unrealised gains have been achieved in respect of three other
unquoted investments which have been revalued following
further funding rounds.  The above gains have been offset by
provisions of £1.5 million to cover potential losses arising
from four investments.


Over the half year, the fund has produced total net realised
and unrealised gains of £24 million, which equates to a total
return for the period of over 77 pence per share.

Following four realisations in February 2000, the directors
resolved to pay a special interim dividend of 10 pence per
share, which was paid on 1 June 2000. The First Fibre and
Orchestream disposals effected later in the period further
increased the distributable reserve and the directors have
resolved to pay a second special interim dividend for the
current year of 16.65 pence per share, making a total dividend
distribution for the current year to date of 26.65 pence per
share.  I should stress that future dividend payments are
largely dependant on the realisation of capital profits and so
are likely to vary considerably.

After the payment of the second special interim dividend, the
Company will have returned a total of 40.2 pence per share to
shareholders since Quester VCT was launched in 1996. This
represents a repayment to original shareholders amounting to
over half of the initial cost of subscription, net of initial
income tax relief.


Following the careful selection of investment opportunities by
the Quester investment managers, the Company retains a well
diversified portfolio, which gives considerable optimism for
the future.

Tom Scruby
27 September 2000


The  last  six months has been an exceptional period  for  the
Company.   Our  overall investment performance has  been  very
strong and we have been able to realise significant gains from
the   venture   capital   portfolio   for   distribution    to
shareholders.  A strong rate of investment has been maintained
and currently the fund is fully invested, apart from the FT-SE
investments,  bonds and a small amount of  cash  all  held  as
reserves for follow-on investment in existing companies.


As a number of our investee companies continue to mature, more
profitable realisations have been achieved.  During the period
to  31  July,  six  significant part disposals  were  effected
realising cash profits, being cash proceeds less original cost
of  investment, in excess of £10 million, as detailed  in  the
table below. We continue to hold shares in these companies or,
in  the  case  of  First Fibre, in Adva AG, which  issued  its
shares  in  exchange at the time of the acquisition  of  First

First Fibre Limited               4,594
SurfControl plc                   3,652
Orchestream Holdings plc          1,351
Sopheon plc                         359
XKO Group plc                       344
Policy Master Group plc             141


The performance of the portfolio has been most encouraging.
The main gains have been seen in those venture capital
investments that have achieved a listing, which, at cost,
account for 16% of total investments. At valuation they
account for around 49% of total investments, representing an
unrealised gain of £23 million. The most significant gains
have been seen in Orchestream following its listing on the
London Official List.  At the period end, its quoted mid-
market price was 420 pence per share, which compares to its
book cost of 28 pence per share.  The price has subsequently
risen further.  The other major 'winner' during the period was
the investment in First Fibre, which, following its
acquisition by Adva AG, now stands at a valuation of over
seven times cost.

As the majority of our unquoted investments are still held at
cost, the gains in the unquoted portfolio are more modest.
However, the unquoted portfolio as a whole shows net gains of
£1.2 million, with the top ten unquoted investments generating
gains of over £4 million, which is promising.  Four of our
unquoted investments have now been upvalued in line with BVCA
guidelines. When considering valuations, we continue to take a
prudent view and accordingly further provisioning has been
applied in respect of four investments.


Our deal flow has remained at extremely high levels, which has
allowed the Quester management team to maintain a good rate of
investment.  During the period four new investments were
completed, together with further follow on investments in 11
companies from the existing portfolio, as shown in the table

Company                  Industry     Investment
                         sector            £'000
New investments                                 
Bowman Power Systems     Manufacturing       750
Nomad Software Limited   Software            749
The Casella Group        Specialist          638
Limited                  consulting
Community Internet plc   Software            500
Follow on investments                           
Elateral Holdings        Internet            893
Purple Technologies      Software            675
Linguaphone Group plc    Publishing          500
Advanced Valve           Manufacturing       401
Technology Limited
Power X Limited          IT hardware         300 plc           Internet            250
First Fibre Limited      IT hardware         250
Opsys Limited            IT hardware            
Artisan Software Tools   Software               
Limited                                      189
HSL Holdings Limited     Software               
International Resources  Specialist             
Group Limited            consulting            5


During  the  period  50 per cent of the  FT-SE  portfolio  was
switched  into  short dated fixed interest securities  pending
further   funding  of  investee  companies.   This  conversion
realised  profits of £248,000 for the Company.  The  remaining
portfolio  comprises 22 investments, which, at the half  year,
had  accrued  unrealised  gains of £412,000.   This  remaining
portfolio  may also be switched into fixed interest securities
at  an appropriate time for the same reason.  Depending on the
pattern  of future realisations in the unquoted portfolio,  we
may therefore run forward with our venture capital investments
accounting for almost all of shareholder funds.


The excellent performance achieved during the period has
enabled us to generate significant value for shareholders both
through the distribution of capital profits and from a
significant rise in the overall value of the portfolio.
Shareholders should note, however, that a very significant
proportion of the existing increase in value is attributable
to a few highly successful investments, whose future value
will be affected by the volatile swings in sentiment for
technology stocks as a whole as well as their own intrinsic
performance.   Balancing this characteristic of the existing
portfolio is the fact that there are several unquoted
companies which are showing great potential.  We consequently
remain optimistic about the prospects for our venture capital
investment as a whole.

Andrew Holmes
Managing Director. Quester Capital Management Limited

27 September 2000

                                   Cost   Valuation        % of
                                  £'000       £'000   portfolio
                                                       by value
Venture capital investments                          
that have achieved a listing
Orchestream Holdings plc 
(3,472,455 ords)                    985      14,584       25.2%
Adva AG* (65,374 ords)              682       5,015        8.7%
SurfControl plc (81,133 ADS)        555       4,381        7.6%
Dragons Health Clubs plc                                   
(950,000 ords)                      950       1,734        3.0%
XKO Group plc (421,000 ords)        505       1,362        2.4%
Sopheon plc (120,000 ords)          150         513        0.8%
Shalibane plc (3,392,124 ords)    1,205         390        0.7%
Policy Master Group plc
(80,298 ords)                       145         369        0.6%
Deep Sea Leisure plc (125,000                              
ords)                               200          63        0.1%
                                  5,377      28,411       49.1%

Ten largest unquoted venture                                    
capital investments
Elateral Holdings Limited         1,506       3,325        5.8%
Power X Limited                     900       2,287        4.0%               
Purple Technologies Limited       1,000       1,858        3.2%
Artisan Software Tools Limited    1,236       1,236        2.1%
Acedes Gear Tools Limited           995         995        1.7%
International Diagnostics           990         990        1.7%
Group plc                           
HSL Holdings Limited              1,143         857        1.5%
Cardionetics Limited                550         847        1.5%
Advanced Valve Technology Limited   845         845        1.4%
Methuen Publishing Limited          781         781        1.4%
                                  9,946      14,021       24.3%
Other unquoted venture           12,969      10,052       17.4%
capital investments
Total venture capital            28,292      52,484       90.8%
Listed fixed interest             2,589       2,587        4.5%
Listed equity investments         2,329       2,741        4.7%
Total investments                33,210      57,812        100%

* The shares in Adva AG, a company listed on Germany's Neuer
Markt, were received by the VCT following that company's
takeover of First Fibre Limited in July 2000.

Profit and loss account

                              6 months    6 months  Year ended
                                 ended       ended  31 January
                               31 July     31 July        2000
                                  2000        1999       £'000
                                 £'000       £'000
Net profit/(loss) on                                          
realisation of investments       4,552        (658)     (1,395)
Income                             724         455         802
Investment management fee         (523)       (452)       (852)
Other expenses                    (133)       (100)       (238)
Profit/(loss) on ordinary                                     
activities before taxation       4,620        (755)     (1,683)
Tax on ordinary activities         (10)        (19)        (43)
Profit/(loss) on ordinary        4,610        (774)     (1,726)
activities after taxation
Dividends paid and              (8,240)     (1,778)     (1,778)
Retained loss transferred       (3,630)     (2,552)     (3,504)
to reserves
Earnings per share                14.9p       (2.5)p      (5.6)p

* The dividends for the six month period amount to 26.65 pence
per share and are paid from the profit and loss reserve, which
retains a balance of £62,000 following this distribution to

Statement of total recognised gains and losses

                              6 months    6 months  Year ended
                                 ended       ended  31 January
                               31 July     31 July        2000
                                  2000        1999      
                                 £'000       £'000       £'000
Profit/(loss) for the            4,610        (774)     (1,726)
Unrealised gain on                                            
revaluation of investments      19,414         538      11,664
Total recognised gains and                                    
losses relating to the          24,024        (236)      9,938

All items in the above statement are derived from continuing
operations. The Company has only one class of business and
derives its income from investments made in shares, securities
and bank deposits.

Balance sheet
                             Note  31 July   31 July 31 January
                                      2000      1999      2000
                                     £'000     £'000     £'000
Fixed assets                                                 
    Fixed asset investments         57,812    29,759    40,606
Current assets                                               
    Debtors                            509       735       870
    Cash at bank and in hand         5,164     3,630     1,094
                                     5,673     4,365     1,964
Creditors:  amounts falling                                  
due within one year                                          
    Other creditors                  (340)     (307)     (357)
    Declared dividend              (5,148)   (1,778)         -
                                   (5,488)   (2,085)     (357)
Net current assets                    185     2,280     1,607
Net assets                         57,997    32,039    42,213
Capital and reserves                                         
Called up equity share              1,546     1,546     1,546
Share premium account          1   28,833    28,833    28,833
Revaluation reserve            1   27,556     1,586    12,537
Profit and loss account        1       62        74      (703)
Total equity shareholders'         57,997    32,039    42,213
Net asset value per share          187.6p    103.6p    136.5p

Summarised Cashflow Statements
                                 6 months 6 months       Year
                                    ended    ended      ended
                                  31 July  31 July         31
                                     2000     1999    January
                                    £'000    £'000      £'000
Net cash inflow from operating        412      516        238
Taxation                              (10)    (110)      (153)
Net capital expenditure and         6,416   (6,895)    (7,331)
financial investment
Equity dividends paid              (3,092)    (337)    (2,115)
Financing                             344     (127)      (128)
Increase/(decrease) in cash for     4,070   (6,953)    (9,489)
the period
Reconciliation of net cash flow                              
to movement in net funds
Increase/(decrease) in cash for     4,070   (6,953)    (9,489)
the period
Net  funds at the start of  the     1,094   10,583     10,583
Net  funds  at the end  of  the     5,164    3,630      1,094

1.   Movement in reserves

                                    Share Revaluation     Profit
                                  premium     reserve   and loss
                                  account     account
                                    £'000       £'000      £'000
     At 1 February 2000            28,833      12,537       (703)
     Transfer of net realised           -     (4,395)      4,395
     profits to profit and loss
     Net increase in value of           -     19,414           -
     Retained loss for the              -          -      (3,630)
     At 31 July 2000               28,833     27,556         62

2.   The financial information contained in this report has
     been prepared on the basis of the accounting policies set out
     in the Annual Report.

3.   The calculation of earnings per share for the period is
     based on profit after tax of £4,609,711divided by the weighted
     average number of shares in issue during the period of

4.   The unaudited financial statements set out above do not
     constitute statutory accounts within the meaning of Section
     240 of the Companies Act 1985.

5.   Copies of the unaudited interim results are being sent to
     shareholders on 28 September 2000. Further copies can be
     obtained from the Company's registered office.