Norway's Opera to seek listing, battle Microsoft

Norway's Opera Software said on Monday it plans an initial public offering in March to aid its race against giant rival Microsoft (nasdaq: MSFT - news - people) to win customers for its Internet browsers in the growing mobile phone market.

OSLO, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Norway's Opera Software said on Monday it plans an initial public offering in March to aid its race against giant rival Microsoft (nasdaq: MSFT - news - people) to win customers for its Internet browsers in the growing mobile phone market.

Opera, which has an estimated market capitalisation of about a billion Norwegian crowns ($143.6 million) based on grey market trading of 10-11 crowns per share, said it may seek to raise 75-150 million crowns ($10.8-21.5 million) in the Oslo listing. However, it said the issue's size has not yet been decided.

The firm aims to use the funds to enhance its mobile phone browsers and expand, with plans to hire some 25 to 40 staff in 2004.

In 2003, Opera swung to an operating profit of 1.3 million Norwegian crowns from losses of 21 million in 2002 and 41 million in 2001. Turnover rose to 78 million crowns from 51 million in 2002 and 28 million in 2001.

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