Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire scanning equipment manufacturer Data & Research Services Plc is coming to market via a placing with institutional investors. The proceeds are expected to be used to expand sales outside the UK and develop new products. The company says it also hopes that Public Limited Company status will improve its profile, particularly outside the UK. Data & Research is currently active in most European countries, but has yet to expand into the US, where the market for Optical Mark Recognition and Optical Character Recognition products is dominated by National Computer Systems Inc and Scantron Inc. Data & Research was created in 1969 as a data input bureau, but in 1990 started manufacturing its own Optical Mark Recognition system. Its biggest market is in the educational sector, but it hopes to make further inroads into other markets such as healthcare. The placing is expected to value the company at around UKP40m, and to raise as much as UKP15m of new money. It’s sponsored by MacArthur & Co, with Beeson Gregory acting as brokers. But the executive directors, who currently hold some 70% of shares, will retain a majority. Last year saw the company achieved sales of UKP111.2m on which it made a UKP2.0m pre-tax profit, up from UKP1.1m in 1992 and just UKP824,000 the previous year.