With the Hannover Fair coming up, Hamburg desktop office software specialist Star Division GmbH gets its annual outing in the sun this month, and the company, which suffered a massive disappointment when IBM Corp signed to adopt Star Office as its preferred office suite for OS/2 and then virtually abandoned the operating system, has a pretty tale to tell this year. It says it had its best year ever in 1996 and told Reuter in Munich that it is close to concluding preparations for its planned listing on the Nasdaq market in the US. The flotation will take place in two stages, and may begin with a private placing of around 10% of its equity with a strategic partner in the US by the end of June. A public offer of 15% of its shares would follow in the fourth quarter with a Nasdaq listing. Another 15% would be offered to employees. We are finalizing plans to form a holding company in the US, Star Division founder Marco Borries told the news agency. He will retain over 50% of the equity. One of Star’s key selling points is that it does not offer the latest versions of its applications only for the fattest of Microsoft Corp’s bloatware, Windows95 and Windows NT, but also for the less obscenely obese Windows 3.1, and for OS/2, Unix and Linux. But continued support for Windows 3.1 does not mean that Star Division is living in the past – last year, it introduced the first office suite to be fully integrated with the Internet. But Star Office 3.1 enables users to view, edit and publish documents on the World Wide Web, nearly a year before Microsoft added this function. Star shipped over 860,000 copies in Germany last year, up from just 200,000 copies in in 1995, and it added versions in Dutch, Italian, French, Spanish and English, selling more than 1million copies in total.