Abstract We present results of a theoretical study of the electronic structure of the relaxed (110) surface of the II–VI compound CdTe. The bulk electronic structure is described by a second nearest neighbor tight binding formalism which explicitly includes spin-orbit interaction. Using the scattering theoretical method, we have obtained wavevector-resolved surface densities of states and the surface band structure. There are no surface states in the gap. Surface states and resonances in the valence band and the conduction band region show resemblance with those of relaxed (110) surfaces of III–V compounds, in addition to features which are typical of the surfaces of ionic compounds. Comparison with angular-resolved direct and inverse photoemission is made.