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Arria NLG's shares rise following Shell deal

ARRIA NLG has seen its shares rise more than 15 per cent after announcing a three-year contract with oil and gas giant Shell.

The company, which specialises in translating raw data into readable text and graphics, said the deal will cover use of its technology on Shell's offshore platforms across the Americas.

There will also be an expansion of an existing deal in upstream operations. In January Shell, which has been using Arria systems for several months, agreed a month by month extension of an existing contract.

Arria's natural language generation (NLG) engine system is based on research by professor Ehud Reiter and other scientists at Aberdeen University which was then developed by spin-out Data2Text. London-based Arria acquired Data2Text and the business subsequently listed on AIM in December last year with shares priced around 120p. Arria said the latest contract comes into effect from the start of June and will see it receive between $5 million and $10 million. The majority of the fees relate to ongoing licence payments but there are also some one-off and deployment fees which become payable if certain milestones are hit. There is also an option to extend the use of the technology beyond the Americas.

Stuart Rogers, chairman and chief executive of Arria NLG, said: "We are pleased to announce this agreement because it reinforces our existing relationship with Shell and provides us the ability to expand our technology across Shell's operating units. Our investment in [research and development] has helped our technology evolve and today it is more mature, scalable and adaptable than ever. Our articulate intelligence solutions aim to increase profits, lower risk and improve operations for our customers.

"The benefits and the ­scalability will help with the faster deployment of our technology within Shell."

Shares closed up 8.5p at 65p. Professor Reiter, Dr Somayajulu Sripada, Ian Davy and John Perry, of Aberdeen University, formed Data2Text to commercialise part of the natural language generation research being done at the institution's school of computing science.

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