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Quester VCT PLC (KAY)

  Print      Mail a friend       Annual reports

Wednesday 15 November, 2006

Quester VCT PLC

Interim Results


                                QUESTER VCT PLC                                

           Interim statement for the six months ended 31 August 2006           

INTERIM DIVIDEND

Dividend per share: 1.4p

Payable on: 22 December 2006

Ex-dividend date: 22 November 2006

Record date: 24 November 2006

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

Per ordinary share (pence)                31 August   28 February     31 August
                                               2006          2006          2005
                                                                               
Capital values                                                                 
                                                                               
Net asset value                                41.8          44.5          42.2
                                                                               
Share price                                    35.5          37.0          38.0
                                                                               
Return and dividends                                                           
                                                                               
Dividend*                                       3.9          1.25             -
                                                                               
Cumulative dividend (tax free)                 46.6          42.7          41.4
                                                                               
Total return* *                                88.4          87.2          83.6


*A final dividend of 2.5p per share was paid on 3 July 2006 in respect of the
year ended 28 February 2006. An interim dividend for the current year of 1.4p
is payable on 22 December 2006.

**Net asset value plus cumulative dividend per share

The returns summarised above are applicable only to original shareholders of
Quester VCT plc. They do not represent the historic returns to subsequent
subscribers, including those who have assumed a shareholding in the Company
following the merger with Quester VCT 2 plc and Quester VCT 3 plc.

The above table excludes any tax benefits (20% income tax relief and capital
gains deferral) received on subscription for shares in the Company. Inclusive
of initial income tax relief, the total return to an original investor would be
equivalent to 108.4p per share as at 31 August 2006.

INTERIM REPORT

OVERVIEW

This period continued to be very active. Further sales have been achieved,
generating cash and gains to support a continuing dividend flow to
shareholders. Ten investments were made in new and follow-on investments.

There been a steady increase in the total return to shareholders since the
merger in June 2005:

Per ordinary share (pence)                              31 August   28 February
                                                             2006          2006
                                                                               
Net asset value                                             41.81         44.50
                                                                               
Cumulative post merger dividends                             5.15          1.25
                                                                               
                                                            46.96         45.75
                                                                               
Less merger FAV                                           (43.39)       (43.39)
                                                                               
Total return post merger                                     3.57          2.36
                                                                               
Total return as a percentage of merger FAV                   8.2%          5.4%

NET ASSETS AND DIVIDENDS

                                          £'000  Pence per
                                                     share
                                                          
Net asset value at 1 March 2006          53,335       44.5
                                                          
Income                                      517        0.4
                                                          
Operating expenses                        (834)      (0.7)
                                                          
Net realised gain on investments            897        0.8
                                                          
Net unrealised gain on investments          776        0.6
                                                          
Net assets before dividends and          54,691       45.6
buy-backs                                                 
                                                          
Dividends paid and proposed, net of     (4,575)      (3.9)
amounts reinvested                                        
                                                          
Share buy-backs                           (548)        0.1
                                                          
Net asset value at 31 August 2006        49,568       41.8

Following further good realisations, the directors have resolved to pay an
interim dividend for the year of 1.4p per share, payable on 22 December 2006. A
final dividend of 2.5p per share in respect of the prior year was paid on 3
July 2006.

VENTURE CAPITAL PORTFOLIO: REALISATIONS

There were three sales from the venture capital portfolio during the period
generating proceeds of approximately £4.2million against a combined carrying
value at the time of the merger of £3million. The sale of Methuen Publishing
and Sibelius Software realised gains of £700,000 and £450,000 respectively over
merger FAV. The £488,000 realised this year from the investment in Casella
Group was in line with FAV; the receipt of further deferred proceeds is
anticipated.

Since the merger in June 2005, £14.6million cash has been realised from the
portfolio. We are not expecting this rate of sales from the portfolio to
continue in the second half of the current year.

New investments

Company                   Industry sector                  £'000
                                                                
Keronite plc              Industrial products and            947
                          services                              
                                                                
Ovum plc                  Other services                     375
                                                                
Secerno Limited           Software                           265
                                                                
                                                           1,587

The investment in Keronite was made as part of a £10.2million pre-IPO funding
round. Keronite has developed a metal-coating process that hardens the surface
of aluminium and magnesium producing outstanding resistance to corrosion and
wear. This offers a cost effective alternative to conventional coating methods
meeting a growing demand from manufacturers. The company has partners operating
its process across Western Europe, the US and Asia and it has formed global
alliances with companies throughout the light metal supply chain. The business
is generating revenues, albeit at modest levels.

Ovum is a leading provider of research, market analysis and advisory services
in the global ICT sector, with an international blue chip client base. The
investment was part of a £6.1million AIM listing in March, which enabled Ovum
to progress its strategy of international growth through new product
development and acquisition. Following the period end, Ovum's board has
recommended a cash offer from Datamonitor plc valuing the company at £
41.8million or 300p per share, equivalent to a 58% uplift over the cost of
Quester VCT's investment made seven months earlier.

The investment in Secerno was made as part of a £2million funding round.
Secerno has developed a unique database and assurance platform, Secerno.SQL,
which enables organisations to detect and prevent fraud, provide regulatory
compliance and assure the integrity and privacy of online data. The platform
addresses the increased threat to security faced by organisations, as
highlighted by a number of recent high profile cases, protecting database
systems without complicated user intervention.

This was also an active period for follow-on investment; £1.7million was
invested in seven

existing companies:

Follow on investments

Company                              Industry sector                     £'000
                                                                              
Advanced Valve Technologies Limited  Industrial products & services         21
                                                                              
Allergy Therapeutics plc             Biotechnology                         200
                                                                              
Haemostatix Limited                  Biotechnology                          42
                                                                              
Nomad Software Limited               Software                              476
                                                                              
Sift Group Limited                   Internet                              135
                                                                              
Teraview Limited                     Diagnostics & devices                 197
                                                                              
Vivacta Limited*                     Diagnostics & devices                 675
                                                                              
                                                                         1,746

*formerly PanOpSys Limited

Allergy Therapeutics is a listed specialist pharmaceutical company with a
profitable core business and a unique development pipeline with the potential
to transform allergy treatment. There remains a large unmet medical need for
allergy vaccines. Substantial year on year growth is being supported by an
extensive global R&D programme to develop disease-modifying allergy vaccines.
The company has made good progress internationally and the Pollinex Quattro
vaccine platform is entering the final stages of development.

Nomad provides a comprehensive processing service for debit card and prepaid
card based transactions. This service can be provided in-house or out-sourced
through Nomad Processing Services. The company has developed a significant
initial customer base for this service, principally relating to prepaid credit
cards. The further investment will help accelerate the growth of this business.

Vivacta, formerly PanOpSys, is an in vitro diagnostic company with novel
technology designed to enable rapid, reliable and highly sensitive tests to be
performed at the point-of-care. This form of testing allows tests to take place
in a doctor's surgery or at the bedside, removing the need for samples to be
despatched to laboratories for analysis. This is a fast growing market sector
and the company's core technology is applicable to a wide variety of tests,
although initially applied to blood testing. The company raised £3million in
February, through a funding round led by Quester and is at an interesting stage
in the optimisation and commercialisation of its patented piezofilm technology.

VENTURE CAPITAL PORTFOLIO: VALUATION CHANGES

During the period, there was a £0.6million net increase in the value of the
portfolio.

The unquoted portfolio increased in value by £1.8million, the only changes
relating to Teraview and Nomad. Teraview continues to make positive progress
but the valuation of the investment has been reduced by £108,000 to £947,000
following the lower pricing of its latest funding round. The valuation of the
investment in Nomad has been increased by £1.9million back up to original cost,
reflecting the progress made by its card payments processing business.

The quoted venture capital portfolio reduced in value by £1.2million during the
period. The most significant valuation movements were seen in the holdings of
Genosis and Imagesound. The £880,000 fall in value of the investment in
Genosis, the producer of a combined male and female home fertility test, arose
on the announcement of much slower than anticipated market penetration. The
value of the investment in Imagesound recovered by £485,000. Subsequent to the
half year, Quester VCT has invested a further £1million in Imagesound, which
sources and distributes profiled music, targeted messaging and audio-visual
content to retail and leisure outlets.

Concerns about smaller companies generally led to a weak AIM market during the
period, and this affected the valuation of a number of our quoted venture
capital investments. By the end of October, however, there had been some
recovery in the share prices of a number of these companies.

LISTED EQUITY PORTFOLIO

The listed equity portfolio has performed well over the half year despite the
market correction seen in the summer. It achieved a total return of £628,000
during the period, equivalent to an IRR of 15.9% per annum.

The Company holds a bond portfolio valued at £4.6million, generating an
effective yield of 4.8% per annum.

DIVIDEND REINVESTMENT SCHEME

We would like to draw attention to the Dividend Reinvestment Scheme, which
shareholders are eligible to join at any time. Please contact Quester should
you wish to participate in this scheme.

CONCLUSION

While the overall return to shareholders continues to increase, the pace of
realisations has begun to reduce. More time is being spent on reinvestment and
evaluating new opportunities. The Manager is building a portfolio with a
balance of later as well as early stage investments. Overall performance shows
a mixture of successes and disappointments, with good groundwork being laid for
longer term performance.

The level of cash resources and overall progress in the portfolio allow the
payment of incremental dividends. The toughening of the Revenue's VCT rules,
with effect from 6 April 2007, may result in an acceleration of the final
dividend in respect of the year ending 28 February 2007.

Jock Birney
Chairman
15 November 2006

FUND SUMMARY

As at 31 August 2006

                        Industry sector          Merger Valuation      %    % of
                                              valuation           equity    fund
                                                      *     £'000   held      by
                                                  £'000                    value
                                                                                
Quoted venture capital                                                          
investments                                                                     
                                                                                
Allergy Therapeutics    Biotechnology               799       841   1.1%    1.7%
plc                                                                             
                                                                                
Cyclacel                Biotechnology               800       207   1.1%    0.4%
Pharmaceuticals, Inc.                                                           
                                                                                
Genosis plc             Diagnostics & devices     1,140       233   6.5%    0.5%
                                                                                
Imagesound plc          Software                  1,848     1,027  11.8%    2.1%
                                                                                
Ovum plc                Other services              375       324   1.6%    0.6%
                                                                                
Sopheon plc             Software                     56        43   0.2%    0.1%
                                                                                
Surfcontrol plc         Software                    551       486   0.4%    1.0%
                                                                                
Vernalis Group plc      Biotechnology               900       886   0.5%    1.8%
                                                                                
XKO Group plc           Software                    527       501   1.4%    1.0%
                                                                                
Total quoted venture                              6,996     4,548           9.2%
capital investments                                                             
                                                                                
Unquoted venture                                                                
capital investments                                                             
                                                                                
Advanced Valve          Industrial products &       631       631  12.8%    1.3%
Technologies Limited    services                                                
                                                                                
Antenova Limited        Semiconductors            1,005     1,005   5.4%    2.0%
                                                                                
Anthropics Technology   Communications               95        25   7.0%    0.1%
Limited                                                                         
                                                                                
Arithmatica Limited     Semiconductors              338       338  12.5%    0.7%
                                                                                
Artisan Software Tools  Software                  1,172     1,172  23.4%    2.4%
Limited                                                                         
                                                                                
Avidex Limited          Biotechnology               602       276   1.4%    0.6%
                                                                                
Casella Group Limited   Industrial products &       110       110  15.8%    0.2%
                        services                                                
                                                                                
Cluster Seven Limited   Software                    743       743   9.3%    1.5%
                                                                                
Community Internet      Internet                    634       634  17.4%    1.3%
Europe Limited                                                                  
                                                                                
Elateral Holdings       Software                    245       245  24.4%    0.5%
Limited                                                                         
                                                                                
Global Silicon Limited  Semiconductors              600       600   7.6%    1.2%
                                                                                
Haemostatix Limited     Biotechnology                95        95   5.9%    0.2%
                                                                                
HTC Healthcare Group    Consumer services         1,664     1,664  36.7%    3.4%
plc                                                                             
                                                                                
International           Diagnostics & devices       690       690  23.9%    1.4%
Diagnostics Group plc                                                           
                                                                                
Keronite plc            Industrial products &       947       947   7.1%    1.9%
                        services                                                
                                                                                
Lectus Therapeutics     Biotechnology               248       248   7.0%    0.5%
Limited                                                                         
                                                                                
Level Four Software     Software                    518       518   5.1%    1.0%
Limited                                                                         
                                                                                
Lorantis Holdings       Biotechnology               625       625   1.9%    1.3%
Limited                                                                         
                                                                                
Nanotecture Limited     Industrial products &        87        87   0.8%    0.2%
                        services                                                
                                                                                
Nomad Software Limited  Software                  1,363     3,224  18.7%    6.5%
                                                                                
Opsys Management        Electronics                 268       268      -    0.4%
Limited                                                                         
                                                                                
Pelikon Limited         Electronics                 708       708   5.5%    1.4%
                                                                                
Perpetuum Limited       Electronics                 435       435   8.0%    0.9%
                                                                                
Secerno Limited         Software                    265       265   4.2%    0.5%
                                                                                
Sift Group Limited      Internet                  2,249     2,249  19.8%    4.5%
                                                                                
Teraview Limited        Diagnostics & devices     1,056       947   5.4%    1.9%
                                                                                
Vivacta Limited**       Diagnostics & devices       915       915  12.9%    1.8%
                                                                                
Total unquoted venture                           18,308    19,664          39.6%
capital investments                                                             
                                                                                
Total venture capital                            25,304    24,212          48.8%
investments                                                                     
                                                                                
Listed fixed interest                                       4,556           9.3%
investments                                                                     
                                                                                
Listed equity                                              11,518          23.2%
investments                                                                     
                                                                                
Total investments                                          40,286          81.3%
                                                                                
Cash and other net                                          9,282          18.7%
assets                                                                          
                                                                                
Net assets                                                 49,568         100.0%

*Fair value at the date of the merger on 29 June 2005, as adjusted for any
subsequent purchases and sales

**formerly PanOpSys Limited


UNAUDITED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
PROFIT AND LOSS ACCOUNT

                                      Note     6 months    6 months  Year ended
                                               ended 31    ended 31 28 February
                                            August 2006 August 2005        2006
                                              Unaudited   Unaudited Unaudited £
                                                  £'000       £'000       £'000
                                                                               
Net profits/(losses) on fair value                1,673     (1,197)       3,056
through profit or loss on                                                      
investments                                                                    
                                                                               
Income                                              517         356       1,070
                                                                               
Investment management fee                         (525)       (273)       (778)
                                                                               
Other expenses                                    (309)       (244)       (486)
                                                                               
Profit/(loss) on operating                        1,356     (1,358)       2,862
activities before taxation                                                     
                                                                               
Tax on ordinary activities                            -           -           -
                                                                               
Profit/(loss) on ordinary                         1,356     (1,358)       2,862
activities after taxation                                                      
                                                                               
Basic and diluted earnings/(loss)        4         1.1p       (2.1)        3.3p
per share                                                                      

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 and securities and from bank deposits.

A statement of total recognised gains and losses has not been presented because
all gains and losses are included in the statement above.

BALANCE SHEET

                                      31 August     28 February      31 August
                                           2006            2006           2005
                                      Unaudited       Unaudited      Unaudited
                                          £'000           £'000          £'000
                                                                              
Fixed assets                                                                  
                                                                              
Investments                              40,286          37,105         43,806
                                                                              
Current assets                                                                
                                                                              
Debtors                                     971           1,095          2,041
                                                                              
Cash at bank                             10,400          15,693          6,279
                                                                              
                                         11,371          16,788          8,320
                                                                              
Creditors (amounts falling due                                                
within one year)                                                              
                                                                              
Other creditors                         (2,089)           (558)          (812)
                                                                              
Net current assets                        9,282          16,230          7,508
                                                                              
Net assets                               49,568          53,335         51,314
                                                                              
Capital and reserves                                                          
                                                                              
Called-up equity share capital            5,928           5,992          6,085
                                                                              
Capital redemption reserve                  335             260            161
                                                                              
Share premium account                         -          37,359         37,318
                                                                              
Special reserve                          41,239           4,348          7,540
                                                                              
Fair value reserve                      (2,079)         (2,477)        (3,020)
                                                                              
Profit and loss account                   4,145           7,853          3,230
                                                                              
Total equity shareholders' funds         49,568          53,335         51,314
                                                                              
Net asset value per share                 41.8p           44.5p          42.2p

SUMMARISED CASH FLOW STATEMENT

                                     6 months ended     Year ended     6 months
                                                                          ended
                                          31 August    28 February    31 August
                                               2006           2006         2005
                                                                               
                                              £'000          £'000        £'000
                                                                               
Net cash (outflow)/inflow from                (317)             96          461
operating activities                                                           
                                                                               
Net cash inflow from merger                       -          5,921        5,881
                                                                               
Net capital expenditure and                 (1,513)         10,715      (1,221)
financial investment                                                           
                                                                               
Dividends paid, net of amounts              (2,915)        (1,480)            -
reinvested under the dividend                                                  
reinvestment scheme                                                            
                                                                               
Buy-back of ordinary shares                   (548)        (1,077)        (360)
                                                                               
(Decrease)/increase in cash for the         (5,293)         14,175        4,761
period                                                                         
                                                                               
Reconciliation of net cash flow to                                             
movement in net funds                                                          
                                                                               
(Decrease)/increase in cash for the         (5,293)         14,175        4,761
period                                                                         
                                                                               
Net funds at the start of the period         15,693          1,518        1,518
                                                                               
Net funds at the end of the period           10,400         15,693        6,279

RECONCILIATION OF MOVEMENT IN SHAREHOLDERS' FUNDS

                           Share    Capital    Share    Special    Fair   Profit
                         capital redemption  premium    reserve   value and loss
                                    reserve  account            reserve  account
                                                                                
                           £'000      £'000    £'000      £'000   £'000    £'000
                                                                                
At 1 March 2006            5,992        260   37,359      4,348 (2,477)    7,853
                                                                                
Shares issued under the       11          -       80          -       -        -
terms of the dividend                                                           
reinvestment scheme                                                             
                                                                                
Cancellation of share          -          - (37,439)     37,439       -        -
premium account                                                                 
                                                                                
Shares bought back          (75)         75        -      (548)       -        -
                                                                                
Transfer of unrealised         -          -        -          -     776    (776)
gain on revaluation of                                                          
investments                                                                     
                                                                                
Transfer of net realised       -          -        -          -   (378)      378
gain to profit and loss                                                         
account                                                                         
                                                                                
Dividends paid and             -          -        -          -       -  (4,666)
proposed (note 2)                                                               
                                                                                
Profit on ordinary             -          -        -          -       -    1,356
activities after                                                                
taxation                                                                        
                                                                                
At 31 August 2006          5,928        335        -     41,239 (2,079)    4,145

The share premium account was cancelled on 12 July 2006 and its credit balance
was transferred to the special reserve.

The special reserve can fund buy-backs of ordinary shares as and when it is
considered by the Board to be in the best interests of shareholders. It will
also enable dividends to be paid out of capital gains achieved on investment
realisations earlier than would otherwise have been possible.

NOTES

 1. The financial information contained in this report has been prepared on the
    basis of the accounting policies set out in the Annual Report for the year
    ended 28 February 2006.
   
 2. A final dividend in respect of the prior year totalling £3,006,000 was paid
    on 3 July 2006. An interim dividend of £1,660,000 is payable on 22 December
    2006.
   
 3. The number of ordinary shares in issue as at 31 August 2006 was 118,559,937
    (31 August 2005: 121,711,519).
   
 4. The calculation of earnings per share for the period is based on the profit
    after tax of £1,356,000 (2005: loss of £1,358,000) divided by the weighted
    average number of shares in issue during the period being 119,086,216
    (2005: 64,711,854) ordinary shares of 5p each.
   
 5. The unaudited financial statements set out above do not constitute
    statutory accounts within the meaning of Section 240 of the Companies Act
    1985. The statutory accounts for the period ended 28 February 2006 have
    been delivered to the Registrar of Companies and received an audit report
    which was unqualified and did not contain any statements under s.237(2) and
    (3) of the Companies Act 1985.
   
 6. Copies of the unaudited interim results are expected to be sent to
    shareholders on 15 November 2006. Further copies can be obtained from the
    Company's registered office.
   
A copy of the above document is to be submitted to the UK Listing Authority,
and will shortly be available for inspection at the UK Listing Authority's
Document Viewing Facility, which is situated at:

Financial Services Authority
25 The North Colonnade
Canary Wharf
London E14 5HS