AIM is steady despite exit strategy of online firm

THE alternative investment market (AIM) remains accessible despite high-profile delistings, a Yorkshire business advisory firm has said.

Matthew Stroh, from Grant Thornton, said confidence in Aim remained solid despite the planned exit of Yorkshire online local search business Infoserve.

The firm cited London Stock Exchange figures showing that the number of companies joining the market increased to 102 last year, up from 36 in 2009. Healthcare software firm Emis Group, based in Leeds, was among those listing in 2010.

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Dr Stroh said: “Recent stories about Yorkshire firms such as Infoserve looking to delist from Aim can give the impression that confidence in the market is low. Indeed the market is not as buoyant as it was in the mid-noughties; however the latest statistics show that more companies are considering, and finding funding through, AiM.”

The LSE research also showed the amount of money invested Aim increased to £5.74bn last year, up from £4.77bn in 2009 despite a fall in the number of companies listed, from 1,293 in 2009 to 1,194.

Last week Infoserve, which is based in Leeds, said it would ask shareholders for permission to delist from Aim and change its name to CityVisitor Group.

The online local business search and directory firm said the board has been concerned for some time that liquidity in its shares has become increasingly limited, especially now that nearly 90 per cent of the shares are owned by directors.

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Yorkshire firms still listed on Aim include Bradford acne specialist Syntopix Group, clean-fuel firm ITM Power and gas-cylinder group Pressure Technologies, both of which are based in Sheffield.

Dr Stroh said: “The Aim market offers great rewards for the right companies and in the current economic environment it is vital that Yorkshire firms looking to access, or that are already listed on Aim, understand how the market has changed.”