Valiant Petroleum, which owns a number of oil fields in the North Sea, has floated on AIM, raising £50 million at £7.50 per share. The initial public offering (IPO) values Valiant at £197 million, making it the second-largest company to float on AIM this year.
Members of the Association of Investment Companies (AIC) remain optimistic about opportunities for VCTs over the coming year. Some managers even claim the credit crunch has helped the trusts by lowering the valuations of potential investee companies.
Sirius Exploration intends to seek up to £6 million after acquiring Sierra Leone-focused Njahili Resources. The AIM-quoted company plans to change its name to Xanadu Resources after the all-paper reverse takeover of Njahili.
A Chinese manufacturer of own-brand bags for mobile phones and laptops has raised £1 million through an initial public offering on AIM at 6p. PAQ International, which also supplies its products to companies such as luggage brand Samsonite and French supermarket Leclerc, will use the funding to assist its move into retail later this year.
The directors of Noble VCT have announced that from 1 April it will be managed by venture capital group Foresight. The decision, aimed at increasing the £22 million fund’s exposure to unquoted investments, precedes a possible merger with Foresight 3 VCT, subject to approval by the shareholders of both companies.
PLUS-listed Keycom, which installs phone and broadband connections in student accommodation, has raised £1.5 million through a placing. The company has also converted loan notes worth £4.5 million held by three of its institutional investors into equity.
Almost two-thirds of independent financial advisers (IFAs) believe that established VCTs will be most popular with investors this year, according to research from Noble Fund Managers. One third of IFAs expect newly launched VCTs to find most favour, while only five per cent back ‘C share’ issues.
Investment fledgling MGIC is seeking £1.5 million at 10p to back early-stage internet ventures in Israel. Axiom Capital is handling the PLUS offer for MGIC, which is headed by Amir Raveh and Robert Pincas, two leading lights at Anglo-Israeli investment concern MG Equity Partners.
API Group, a manufacturer of packaging materials, has completed its move to AIM and cancelled its shares on the London Stock Exchange’s main market. The move follows cash flow problems disclosed late last year, which API resolved through an open offer underwritten by its two largest existing shareholders, raising £8 million.
Richard Feigen, MD of broker and nominated adviser Seymour Pierce, says that there may be more trouble ahead for AIM stocks. ‘The beginning of 2008 will be quite painful, with a lot of blood on the floor, but the market will turn during the year, and possibly early in the year,’ says Feigen, whose firm is broker to 93 AIM-listed companies.
City workers appear to have escaped the global financial squeeze as bonuses and salaries continue to rise, research by recruitment specialist Morgan McKinley has found.
Smaller quoted companies, mostly listed on AIM, are failing to manage their non-executive directors (NEDs) effectively, according to research. NEDs are inappropriately remunerated, ill-trained and poorly prepared for board meetings, says the survey from City law firm Speechly Bircham and the Quoted Companies Alliance (QCA).
Chrysalis VCT, which invests primarily in unquoted companies, generated double-digit returns for its investors in the year to October. But the kind of lucrative exits that boosted profits in 2007 may prove more elusive this year due to a 'less buoyant climate', according to the company's management.
Kentz, an engineering and construction group, has raised £66.7 million through an initial public offering (IPO) on AIM. This is the largest AIM IPO for several weeks following what has so far been a quiet start to 2008.
Investment banking group Shore Capital is launching two ‘credit crunch VCTs’ which will target investment opportunities thrown up by tighter borrowing conditions. Two new Puma VCTs, which aim to raise £40 million between them, will provide secured loans to companies finding it difficult to raise finance from banks.
An investment vehicle seeking a suitable target for a reverse takeover in the financial sector has raised £1 million on PLUS. Lambolle Partners was formed by chairman Michael Edelson, who sits on the boards of several AIM-listed companies, and non-executive director Emma Myers, a director of IT services business Oxygen Ventures.
Turftrax, a company which provides technical and ground management services to the horse racing industry, has floated on AIM with a market capitalisation of £17.6 million. The placing at 40p raised gross proceeds of £3.2 million.
Although new issues on AIM raised £6.2 billion last year, fewer companies joined the market than during 2006, according to research from GrowthBusiness’s sister publication Growth Company Investor. There were 222 new entrants in 2007 compared with 362 the previous year, a fall of 39 per cent.
Chinese chocolate maker Sweet China is returning to AIM with a £4.3 million acquisition and £2.7 million placing, and says there are bigger deals to follow. Floated as a shell in 2005 but delisted the following year, the company says it expects to re-list this month, after clinching its long-delayed purchase of confectionary business Essential Box.
Patrick Reeve, managing director of VCT provider Close Ventures, is anticipating a recession in the UK, but says the downturn will offer good opportunities for VCTs to invest funds they have already raised. He adds that Close, which manages £240 million in its non-AIM VCTs, is looking forward to a year of sustained activity both in investments and realisations.
The Business Advice Service is here to help. Get moving forward again with a free consultation with a local ICAEW Chartered Accountant
4 in 5 people prefer a co.uk when searching online. Meet some real life success stories and discover why .co.uk is a great place to be for you and your business. Find out more.
Providing cover that's just the job - whether you're a new sole trader or long established, major employer. Call 0333 355 9427 minicom 0800 051 3030. Mon-Fri 9am - 7pm (excluding bank holidays). Calls may be recorded.
BGF is a champion for UK business, making long term capital investments of £2 million to £10 million in ambitious companies, typically turning over £5 million to £100 million. Tell me more.
Whether you are a small business with limited IT resources or a large organisation with advanced IT needs, Office 365 has solutions optimised for all business sizes and IT needs. Find out more today.
Tailor your policy, compare quotes and buy in minutes! Up to 50% No Claims Discount. Compare quotes now or call 0845-0723340 today.
David Barker reflects on resisting the temptation to say 'Yes' to the first offer when he opened his data centre, and how choosing instead to diversify his client base at launch has enabled 4D Data Centres to maintain rapid growth in a recession.
Sophia Harrison, director of financial and professional services at Grayling, looks at how a new exchange platform out of Sweden could strike the right chord of regulation for SMEs.
That a team of 13 could build a business worth $1 billion should be the inspiration that all entrepreneurs need.
New research from GrowthBusiness shows that the number of UK cash shells is climbing. We speak to new entrants to the market and those that have recently closed deals to find out what’s driving shells’ increasing popularity.