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Optical/IP

Starent Leaps on Debut

Starent Networks Corp. (Nasdaq: STAR) joined the Nasdaq exchange today at a higher initial listing price than planned and still saw its share price leap by 18 percent in its first few hours of trading.

Within hours Starent's share price had jumped by 16 percent to $13.93, giving the company a market valuation of $869 million.

The wireless data router vendor last month announced a planned IPO price range of $9 - $11. (See Starent Sets IPO Range.)

But strong demand for the stock meant that Starent joined Nasdaq at $12 per share today, raising $108 million for the vendor through its placement of 9 million shares and a further $18.4 million for existing stockholders. An additional 1,580,226 shares could still be bought by the company's underwriters.

Investors have likely been enticed by the vendor's growth prospects. As a specialist supplier of routers designed to handle wireless data traffic, its sales should increase in the coming years as mobile operators launch more data services on their 3G networks and start building out 4G networks.

The company is already showing encouraging sales growth signs, though from a relatively low starting point. In the first three months of this year, it generated revenues of $27.6 million and net income of $2.3 million, compared with revenues of $14.4 million and a profit of $252,000 in the first quarter of 2006.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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