Findings from GrowthBusiness’ M&A on AIM 2012 reveal that although the number of acquisitions and disposals only grew by one, spend on deals climbed 50 per cent to nearly £2 billion.
The report, sponsored by Crowe Clark Whitehill and Howard Kennedy, finds that that M&A activity has grown despite AIM’s population diminishing by 6 per cent over the past 12 months.
Deal figures for the first quarter of 2012 showed a similar number of acquisitions over the same period in 2011, and a surge of 31 per cent to £362 million in value.
The AIM market lost a net 51 companies, as a result of 90 admissions and 141 delistings, during 2011. This figure marks a low rate of attrition compared to previous years when a net loss of 144 was recorded in 2008, 257 in 2009 and 99 in 2010.
Robin Stevens, partner at Crowe Clark Whitehill, comments, ‘One benefit of the last four years of financial stress is that clients and advisers have in general had to become more realistic as regards values, timing and ability to raise funds.’
Adds Stevens: ‘That offers some hope that transactions will take place on realistic terms rather than being deferred awaiting better times.’
Further findings from the report shows that although there was a disproportionate number of sub-£2 million companies among the delistings in 2011, the overall landscape of AIM has not shifted towards larger companies over the period of 2011.
Research from GrowthBusiness reveals that those valued at less than £20 million now account for 52 per cent of the market by number, up from 50 per cent in 2010.
The division between UK and foreign-based businesses is also moving closer to a 50/50 split, the statistics show.
Those companies with their primary field of operation in the US and China now dominate the international contingent of AIM, with a total of 57 and 47 listees respectively.
Dov Katz, partner and head of AIM at Howard Kennedy, adds, ‘AIM continues to become a more international market as it attracts a large number of overseas companies.
‘It enables such companies to benefit from being at the heart of the global finance community by having their securities quoted and traded in London – at present seen as a relative haven in turbulent European seas.’