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Wireless maker Airspan takes off in first-day trading

Airspan Networks, which makes equipment used to transmit wireless voice and data, skyrockets in its initial public offering.

    Airspan Networks, which makes equipment used to transmit wireless voice and data, rose 227 percent to $49.03 in its initial public offering today before falling to close at $31.94.

    The Uxbridge, England-based company raised $82.5 million yesterday through the sale of 5.5 million shares at $15 on the Nasdaq Stock Market, just over the top of its $12 to $14 range.

    The company, whose equipment is based on Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology, increased the number of shares offered and raised the price range from $9 to $11 because of strong demand. Credit Suisse First Boston handled the sale.

    Renaissance Capital analyst Randall Roth attributed Airspan's strong debut to investors' enthusiasm for companies in the wireless niche. He also credited the company's arrangement with Motorola, whereby Motorola will resell Airspan systems.

    "I think Motorola is really the prime driver; that's a good guy to have in your quarter," Roth said. "Their sales are in places where there's not a strong or developed wire line infrastructure, such as the Philippines, making more of a need for wireless."

    Airspan reported second-quarter losses of $7.2 million on revenue of $5.7 million. The company reported losses of $7.1 million on revenue of $1.3 million in the same period in 1999.

    The IPO market during the past few weeks has embraced companies in selective industries including wireless and infrastructure. Yesterday, Internet software company Support.com soared 133 percent in its debut.

    "We're still seeing selective deals dominate," said Jeff Hirschkorn, senior market analyst with IPO.com.