Opera Planning IPO
By Carlo Longino, Mon Feb 09 21:15:00 GMT 2004

Norwegian browser developer Opera said today that it's planning to list on the Oslo stock exchange next month, pumping up its warchest for its continued move on the mobile browser market.

While Opera only claims 1-2% of the desktop browser market (compared to Microsoft's 96%), the company has had a great deal of success in the mobile market, where its browser is included on devices from Benq, Kyocera, Nokia, Motorola, Sendo and Sony Ericsson. Opera uses proprietary Small-Screen Rendering technology to reformat standard Web sites for display on smartphones' smaller screens.

Opera is an interesting success story. Many thought they were crazy to enter the browser market, and the company turned steady, if small, profits through the Internet boom, yet resisted the capital market's call, unlike many lesser companies. The company hopes to raise a significant pile of cash in order to hire more staff this year and gain market share in the mobile browser market.

The company also released its 2003 financials, which show the company had a strong year and especially strong fourth quarter. Opera generated 78.5 million Norewgian crowns (about $11.3 million) in revenue over the year, with 28.8 million ($4.2 million) in the fourth quarter, and turned a full-year profit of 1.3 million crowns ($183,000), though the fourth quarter saw a profit of 6.5 million crowns (933,000).