Opera Shares Rise in Opening Day

The Norwegian browser maker's initial public offering piques investors' interest, sending the stock price modestly higher.

Shares of Norway-based Opera Software ASA began trading on Thursday on the Oslo Stock Exchange, rising steadily throughout the day to close at 11.40 Norwegian kroner ($1.61) a share.

Opera, the Web browser maker that announced plans last month for an initial public offering, said ahead of trading that demand for shares outweighed supply by 20 times. The company issued 12.5 million shares with an opening price of 10 kroner ($1.41) a share.

"We are pleased with the interest from investors, especially from abroad," Opera Board Chairman Christian Thommessen said in a statement. "The interest in our IPO and listing is an endorsement from the marketplace that Operas technology is playing a significant role in the evolution of the Internet."

About 83 percent of the subscriptions for shares were from international institutional investors, Opera said. The stock is trading under the symbol "OPERA."

Operas Web browser competes with Microsoft Corp.s market-leading Internet Explorer. Opera also has pushed aggressively into the mobile browser space, and earlier this week announced plans for the next release of its mobile browser.

Opera Version 7 for Smartphones and PDAs already is shipping on Kyocera Corp.s new ITRON-based phone in Asia, and Opera plans to announce deployments soon on the Symbian and Linux operating systems, the company announced on Tuesday.

The mobile version of Opera 7 is based on the same core technology as Operas desktop browser, making its "Presto" engine available on mobile devices. The new version includes support for the World Wide Web Consortiums Document Object Model (DOM) for dynamically accessing and updating content, Opera officials said. It also can support so-called street HTML, or non-standard HTML code common in Web pages.

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