25 January 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Lawrence Graham LL…

25 January 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Lawrence Graham LLP and Growth Company Investor launch “Spotlight on Aim” report

As AIM celebrates its 1000th company and prepares to celebrate its 10th anniversary, Lawrence Graham’s AIM team launches new research into the active market’s performance, while itself celebrating yet another successful year as leading AIM advisers.

Growth Company Investor, together with London-based corporate law firm Lawrence Graham LLP, has revealed the results of comprehensive research into the performance of AIM in 2004. Among the conclusions detailed in the report, “Spotlight on AIM”, are the following:
• AIM accounted for 80 per cent of all IPOs in Western Europe during 2004, raising £2.2 billion in total
• The total market value of companies on AIM reached £29.6 billion by the end of last November, marking a rise of 61.3 per cent since the beginning of January
• 77 companies left AIM in 2004, down on the previous year’s 112 exits
• Companies on AIM are getting larger – the number of AIM companies valued at more than £50 million doubled in 2004
• Mining continues to dominate as the largest sector on AIM (84 companies worth £5 billion), while oil & gas now constitutes the second largest sector
Looking ahead to 2005, Lawrence Graham corporate finance partner Hugh Maule says:
“In 2005, we expect to see the internationalisation of AIM to continue at apace. China and India are particularly interesting markets within which the London Stock Exchange is promoting itself which will give rise to more flotations of businesses for those countries.”
He adds: “However, challenges do lie ahead. What will be the outcome of Deutche Börse and Euronext’s interest in the London Stock Exchange and will this affect AIM? Will AIM regulation tighten on cash shells and corporate governance? Will traditional open offers and rights issues die away for AIM companies and what effect will this have?”
The 2004 calendar year saw Lawrence Graham acting on 11 AIM flotations. In addition, the team advised a number of AIM quoted companies on secondary issues and M&A transactions. New clients of the firm who floated on AIM during 2004 include Van Dieman Mines, Careforce Group and Block Shield Corporation. Nominated advisers/brokers acted for include Arbuthnot Securities, Bell Lawrie, Teather & Greenwood, Oriel Securities and Charles Stanley.
Nick Heather, a corporate finance partner at Lawrence Graham, says:
“2004 saw AIM continue to power ahead, with many foreign companies floating on the market. These companies were attracted to AIM by its reputation as a market where the entry requirements are not unduly onerous, but which is nevertheless well regulated and respected.”
He adds:

“What is particularly pleasing about our performance during 2004 is that we have continued to advise companies on their AIM flotations whilst maintaining our excellent relationships with the nominated advisers/brokers. Clients such as Careforce and Block Shield Corporation are exciting and dynamic companies and we anticipate that as they grow, both organically and by acquisition, we will continue to advise them.
I very much hope that our relationships with these companies will be as successful as the relationships we have built with AIM companies which floated in previous years, including Fibernet Group PLC, Whittard of Chelsea (both now on the Official List) Millfield Group and Coffee Republic.”

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