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Samantha writes on exports, Islamic finance and the business of doing business across borders. Before moving into journalism she worked in executive recruitment and public policy.

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CEOQ&A: Paul MacLeman

Published 20 September 2012 03:08, Updated 20 September 2012 05:00

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What has been your toughest task?

With technology development, picking the time to raise capital is tricky. It’s a balance between going too early at a lower valuation and going too late with obvious implications.

What is the best deal you’ve done?

As a result of the global financial crisis, we picked up assets of a United States diagnostics company that had invested $320 million. We bought it for $1.25 million.

And the worst? What did you learn?

I was involved with a failed merger of an Aussie [company] with a US technology company. It failed because of a lack of knowledge of the different environments by the boards. Don’t assume that when people are nodding through negotiations that you necessarily have everyone’s agreement.

How is your industry changing?

Consolidation is picking up in the molecular diagnostics space. A shortage of new venture capital backed companies is reducing the number of listed companies in the space. I think this will drive up valuations in the sector.

How long are you at your desk?

Which desk? In a CEO role you never really get away from the virtual desk. You just need to carve out some mental space.

If you were PM for the day, the first thing you would do is ….

Encourage more capital investment in emerging sectors such as health, biotechnology and clean technology.