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Noble tops up Enterprise

Noble Fund Managers is raising up to £1.5m to top up its enterprise venture capital trust.

The trust was established in 1996 and has raised £20.6m to date, which has been invested in 45 unquoted companies. The directors of the VCT believe there will be enough interest from investors for a further share issue, which will make use of the investment opportunities that come to the attention of the fund managers through their offices across the UK.

The VCT will maintain its bias towards technology companies at an early stage of development, particularly those in the life sciences, software development and business services. However, around a third of the portfolio will be in developing companies listed on the Alternative investment market (Aim).

On the Aim side, the VCT will benefit from the experience of Charles McMicking, who joined Noble & Co from Electra Partners in June 2001. He will co-manage the VCT alongside John Gregory, who joined Noble Group in 1995. He was previously a director at Singer & Friedlander.

Investors who commit to the enterprise VCT will benefit from its strong track record. Allenbridge&#39s Tax Shelter Report for January 2003 ranks the VCT as second out of 14 generalist VCTs that were established between 1995 and 1997. As a generalist VCT, it offers more diversity than Aim VCTs, but its bias towards technology may increase the risks.

This VCT season is likely to be difficult because of current market conditions and low investor confidence. The JPMorgan Fleming Investors Confidence Index for February shows that confidence is at its lowest level since September 11, 2001 and demand for riskier venture capital investments may not be great.

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