Smallcap animal genetics and biotechnology expert Sygen’s stock market value began to creep up steadily in March and April, no doubt spurred on by two March announcements. Since we recommended the company at 38.5p in the March 2003 Company Watch, Sygen has set up a Funded Chair of Genetic of Genetic Information Systems with the University of of New England in Armidale, Australia, which has strengthened the venture’s network of research collaborations around the world. As chief executive Phillip David explained – ‘The Sygen Chair further enhances our technical capabilities as we continue to apply our genetics and biotechnology across food animal species’. Furthermore, the market took notice of 301,447 options granted to finance director John Willard Adams exercisable at 38.25p. Sygen’s last reported figures were for the half to end-December – pre-tax profits fell from £5.3m to £3.1m on sales of £63m, a drop from £84.1m. Encouragingly however, the core PIC business performed well despite severe downturn in the pig cycle. And the group also continued its transition to an ‘indirect business model driven by royalty streams’ which should slash the proportion of business exposed to touchy market cycles. Analysts are going for profits of £9.7m and eps of 2.2p a share for the current year, for a forward p/e of 19.5. A forward p/e of 19.5 isn’t budget stuff, but you should hold your shares for future potential.