The Sharp End: winter 2013 — viewpoint: AIM

By Tom Nicholls

It took a while for activity to pick up on AIM last year, but there is no doubt that there has been an uptick in activity in recent months. November was the strongest month last year, with the highest total of monies raised in a single month since March 2011, and July was also an exceptionally strong month. Activity eased over August but September was a strong month by number of admissions with 12. October was again a very strong month by reference to monies raised, with Tungsten Corporation’s initial public offering (IPO) being the largest trading company IPO on AIM since 2008. As a result, the third quarter was the first quarter in two years to see a net increase in the number of companies on AIM. With 85 new admissions (at the time of printing) on AIM and anecdotal evidence suggesting a continuing pipeline of new admissions, 2013 represented an improvement over 2012, which saw a total of 71 new admissions. In terms of sectors, fund transactions continue to be strong and technology companies are seeing renewed interest. Stephenson Harwood has advised on six IPOs over the past 12 months, including acting for Weiss Korea Opportunity Fund on its IPO, the second largest on AIM this year to date raising £105m. In June, we advised on IBEX Global Solutions’ admission, acting for IBEX’s nominated adviser and joint broker Liberum Capital and joint broker Cenkos Securities. We’ve also just advised on the AIM IPO for Kalibrate Technologies.

Shares traded on AIM can now be included in individual savings accounts (ISAs), a move by the government intended to encourage investment and expand the investment pool for AIM companies. With the abolition of stamp duty on AIM shares from April and the existing inheritance tax breaks, AIM shares have become increasingly attractive from a tax perspective…

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