All IPO & City News

Melorio buys Zenos and Zenos Learning

AIM-listed vocational training company Melorio has acquired government-funded training providers Zenos and Zenos Learning for up to £33 million.

Nighthawk to swoop on AIM cash 

A Bristol-based hydrocarbon specialist is days away from raising a seven-figure sum in a bid to continue work on its flagship project.

Beringea launches VCT fundraising

Private equity firm Beringea is seeking £20 million of investors’ money across its two VCT funds, ProVen VCT and ProVen Growth & Income VCT.

Valuations have plummeted

Private shareholdings halve in 18 months

The value of private shareholdings in the UK stock market fell to £138 billion by September as a result of net selling and falling valuations.

Rathbone starts offshore sell-off

London-based wealth management specialist Rathbone Brothers has sold its trust operations in Jersey to its management team.

‘Severe illiquidity’ hurts AIM VCT

Pennine AIM VCT has announced a year-on-year decline of more than one-third in its net asset value per share, from 70.7p to 44.1p, as Chairman Hugh Gillespie says the fund’s management is constrained by the ‘severe illiquidity of most AIM stocks, along with the restrictions imposed by the VCT regulations’.

VCT investment opportunities ‘reduced’

Andrew Boyle, chairman of the Apollo VCTs, says that there are fewer opportunities matching the funds’ investment criteria due to the economic downturn. The statement comes as the VCTs report ‘stable’ performance in the six months to July.

Cancer vaccine specialist in PLUS IPO

A company developing a pipeline of cancer vaccines has raised £1.55 million in an initial public offering (IPO) on PLUS. Scancell raised the money through AIM-listed broker St Helen’s Capital. 

Investors deserting small-caps, says VCT

Julian Avery, chairman of Invesco Perpetual’s AIM VCT, says the sharp decline in the fund’s assets reflects ‘extreme aversion to investment in UK companies with low market capitalisations’. Net assets shrunk to £28.4 million in the year to May, a decline of 41.4 per cent.

BioEnergy Africa raises £8.6 million

A company focused on the production of ethanol from sugar cane in southern Africa has listed on AIM. BioEnergy Africa raised £8.6 million through a placing at 12.5p, representing 20.7 per cent of its enlarged share capital.

RAK Real Estate floats on PLUS

A cash shell for investing in Middle Eastern and North African property businesses has floated on PLUS. RAK Real Estate, which is incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, intends to complete a reverse takeover of a suitable company through an issue of shares, at which point it will become a trading business.

Market sentiment holds back SPARK VCTs

The managers of the three SPARK VCTs say poor market sentiment is restricting exit opportunities and constraining them from making new investments. They add that the environment for both disposals and funding ‘shows no sign of improving in the short term’.

Mining technology play in IPO

World Mining Services, a company formed to exploit technologies for mineral extraction, has floated on PLUS raising £200,000 at 6p. The company has holdings in three entities which own rights to mining processes or technologies, and will seek to invest in others.

VCT’s fundraising falls short

Edge Performance VCT, which aimed to raise £25 million in an offer of ‘D’ shares straddling two tax years, has brought in £19.2 million. The VCT, which focuses on the entertainment industry, fell short of its targeted sum despite twice extending the offer’s closing date.

Close Enterprise VCT plays it slow

Nearly 18 months after its launch, Close Enterprise VCT holds most of its assets in fixed-interest securities and loan notes, according to its interim management statement. Since 1 April, the managers have invested £17.2 million of the VCT’s total funds of £28.5 million in such securities, while £808,000 has gone into growth companies.

Brickles foresees end of LSE era

Simon Brickles, the chief executive of PLUS Markets Group, says competition from smaller exchanges including his own has seen ‘the end of the equity trading monopoly in the UK’. He predicts that by early 2009, neither the London Stock Exchange (LSE) nor any of its rivals will handle more than 50 per cent of trade in UK equities.

Tough times for small companies, says Unicorn

Unicorn AIM VCT II has seen a net loss of just over £1.4 million for both its Ordinary Share Fund and the C Share Fund. Chairman Peter Andrews attributes this to tough market conditions for smaller quoted companies, where banks have tightened terms and investors are more risk averse.

Close AIM VCTs move to Octopus

Three AIM venture capital trusts (VCTs) managed by Close Investments, representing approximately £65 million of assets in total, have moved across to Octopus Investments.

AIM launch for seismic group

Thalassa Energy has raised £3.1 million on AIM to buy marine seismic equipment for offshore oil exploration and production.

New Earth launches listed fund

UK waste treatment company New Earth Solutions is to raise equity finance through a listed fund it has launched in partnership with Isle of Man-based investment firm Premier Group. The fund is quoted on the Channel Islands Stock Exchange and anticipates long-term investment returns of 12 to 15 per cent per annum.

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