According to research by Growth Company Investor*, a total of 362 new companies joined AIM in 2006, raising £9.4 billion. To put this in context, £10 billion was raised in the five years to December 2005. As ever, investors had an appetite for companies of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the 92 companies that raised less than £5 million all the way up to the 30 new entrants (eight per cent) that raised over £100 million.
The professional firms that brought these new issues to AIM are ranked (in the attached research document) by their fundraising performance as well as the average price performance of their clients. In terms of total money raised, Collins Stewart, consistently AIM’s largest fundraiser since this research began, is again the clear leader in both the broker and nominated adviser category, having pulled in almost £1.7 billion as broker. It also brought most companies to market, 28 in total, from the £250 million-plus flotations of sugarcane-to-ethanol investor Infinity Bio-Energy and software developer Playtech down to the sub-£5 million IPO of cash shell Drury Lane Capital.
A significant change this year was the growing influence on AIM of financial behemoths Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Credit Suisse First Boston. All three brokered a handful of big-money floats, such as Deutsche’s £360 million and £207 million hauls for property investment companies Unitech Corporate Parks and Ishaan Real Estate.
Among individual companies, Chinese silicon wafer recycler ReneSola, advised by Westhouse, posted the best improvement. Investors piled into the profitable company, driving its shares up 509 per cent by the end of the year from the 79p at which it raised £26.5 million in August. Other successes were UK property investor O Twelve Estates, up 188 per cent since joining, and architects Aukett Fitzroy Robinson, up 249 per cent.
Enjoying a far more unpleasant ride post float were the followers of charity lottery company Chariot. Originally floated in February, raising £9.6 million at 115p with the assistance of Noble & Company, it has lost 99.67 per cent of its value due to lacklustre ticket sales.
There are other similarly disappointed investors in £11 million Arbuthnot-advised float of network services expert Netservices and the £38 million IPO of US media play Burst by Altium Securities.
*Growth Company Investor Is a sister website of GrowthBusiness.co.uk.