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Friday, 7 April, 2000, 16:32 GMT 17:32 UK
Queen nears million
Will's shares hold their value?
The Queen has come close to adding a million to her fortune after her internet investment jumped in value.

Shares in, floated on the stock market at 200p a share, slipped during morning trading, but then rallied to end the day 12% higher at 224p.

The rise values the company at about 650m and the Queen's 1.5% stake at 970,000 - a handsome paper profit of 870,00 after an original investment of 100,000 last Autumn.

The company - previously called Millennium Mapping Co - is taking aerial photographs of the whole of Britain to sell online.

The flotation comes at a turbulent time for internet companies.

The high-profile flotation of has left thousands of private investors out of pocket after the shares nosedived.

Aerial map's website has examples of its aerial views
Getmapping's managing director Tristram Cary said: "The market for internet stocks could be wobbly for quite a long time. But we need to do this now to make the most of being the first to do what we are doing."

He added that the company had opted for a "very conservative" flotation price, even though the shares were four times oversubscribed.

Shrewd investor

The Queen became interested in getmapping last year after it sought and won approval to dedicate to her its reproductions of the Domesday Book.

She is known by Buckingham Palace insiders as a shrewd financial operator, although ordinarily her dealings are strictly private. founders's founders saw profits soar... then slump
Getmapping is hoping to make its money by selling chunks of the map to interested members of the public, companies and local authorities.

"This will be useful for estate agents, insurance companies and all sorts of businesses," said Mr Cary, a 51-year-old former Royal Navy navigator.

So far the company's four aeroplanes have photographed about 85% of England and their pictures can already be viewed on the website.

The 6.5 million to be raised from the share issue will be used to complete the rest of the photography work and start making inroads to the continent.

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