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Tech Industry

Veteran software maker's IPO makes gains

Shares of Lawson Software ended their first trading day 13 percent higher. The company is only the third technology concern to go public in the last two months.

A 26-year-old software maker, the third technology company to go public in the last two months, saw its stock finish the regular session 13 percent higher in its first day of trading as a public company.

Lawson Software, which makes applications that handle human resources, financials and supply-chain management processes for companies, set a price of $14 Thursday night, in the middle of the range it set with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The stock opened at $15.53, and rose as high as $16.19. It ended the day up $1.82 at $15.82 on the Nasdaq.

St. Paul, Minn.-based Lawson specializes in the health care, financial services, professional services and retail industries. It competes against companies like SAP and PeopleSoft, but focuses on smaller customers. It was founded in 1975, and turned a profit of $1.09 million, or one cent per share, on revenue of $100.9 million, in the most recent quarter.

Lawson is offering 13.7 million shares, with other shareholders putting 325,000 shares up for sale. Lehman Brothers and J.P. Morgan Chase, the deal's underwriters, have been given an option to purchase an additional 2.1 million shares to cover over-allotments.

It is no secret that the number of technology IPOs has fallen sharply. Last year, according to Thomson Financial Securities, 240 of the 374 IPOs were from high-tech companies. This year, 22 of the 84 IPOs have been tech-related.

Two tech companies that have gone public in recent months include chipmaker Magma Design Automation, which rose 46 percent on its initial day of trading last month, and video game designer Bam Entertainment, which rose 9 percent when it made its public debut.