Over in the shallow puddles where tiny Aim stocks trade, shares in the small restaurant chain Richoux were up about a fifth on Friday morning, following publication of final results.
The stock is still worth a mere £20m, so we point to it only as reminder to pay attention to two types of announcement: directors dealings and oddly timed regulatory news (RNS).
A market notice from the London Stock Exchange on Thursday reminded member firms of their settlement obligations under its rules, prompted by what it describes as “settlement delays in relation to transactions in New World Oil & Gas.”
The tiny Aim listed oil exploration group, you may remember, is the possible subject of a failure to read the small print short squeeze. Details on the strange situation below, but two things to conclude from the LSE’s statement: regulators are keeping a close eye on this one, but aren’t likely to step in and stop any squeeze. Read more
For disappointment, dashed hopes, false dawns, broken promises, under-delivery and consistently dolorous failure, there’s little to match Aim. London’s junior market has proved time and again to be a money pit. Read more
The global personalisation technology company, Phorm, has caught our eye again, not least because the stock was up…er…69 per cent at pixel…
The excitement can be pinned on this: Read more
From a global personalisation technology company that makes content and advertising more relevant to consumers, on Monday…
To date, the Group has incurred cumulative losses of $238.0 million… Read more
Aortech is a little AIM-listed specialist in polymer technology, whose main operations are in Minneapolis. Back in the summer, faced with an acute cash shortage, chairman Jon Pither stepped down – to be replace by a non-executive, Bill Brown.
The company was put up for sale. Brown couldn’t find a buyer for the whole firm, so he went looking for a cash injection, along with a possible deal to sell the core polymers business. Read more
Consider this fabulous failure of a stock…
The first Chinese shipbuilder to join Aim is expected to be introduced to the market on Thursday, the FT says. Dong Fang Shipbuilding is expected to have a market capitalisation of about £32m after raising $14.3m in a pre-flotation exercise, mostly from investors in Singapore. In spite of the turbulence in the equity and bond markets, there has been a pick-up in the number of admissions to Aim over the past couple of months. In July 12 companies joined the market while only 13 delisted, indicating that the total number of companies might be starting to stabilise at about 1,150 after several of years of decline from the peak of 1,700.
The logjam of initial public offerings is building in Europe, the FT reports, after almost $10bn of flotations were shelved in the first half of the year due to market volatility and investors’ disillusionment with recent listings. Bankers say the real figure of scrapped IPOs is even higher than the statistics suggest, as many companies have had to quietly drop plans after preliminary talks with investors. Spain’s Bankia will on Tuesday announce that it has raised up to €3.3bn from investors in an IPO seen as a crucial step in the reform of the country’s banking system. However, it was forced to deeply discount the share issue. Astraea Capital, a specialist litigation funder, on Monday became the latest European company to scrap plans to go public, announcing it would seek private financing rather than a £100m listing on London’s Alternative Investment Market.
File this one with “the dog ate my homework”.
Here’s Aim-listed Baltic Oil Terminals explaining why its shares have been suspended on Wednesday. Read more
This can’t end well. Nasdaq recently got the regulatory green light from the SEC to launch its new BX Venture Market. Read more
Dodgy “rent-a-doctor” company explodes — film at eleven:
HCL announces that the ordinary shares of the Company have been suspended from trading on AIM with immediate effect… Read more
A flurry of deals among smaller UK traded companies has created an exodus from the Alternative Investment Market, reports the FT. The number of companies to leave Aim, the junior market, leaped 25% in the three months to October, with M&A deals the dominant cause of delisting. Of the 45 companies to part ways with the exchange in the third quarter, 20 left as a result of a deal with another group. But research published on Monday shows that once corporate activity is factored out, the number of delistings remained relatively stable in the first nine months of 2010.
While banks celebrate a revival in their fortunes, the City’s independent stockbrokers are still struggling to recover from the financial crisis, reports the FT. The dearth in initial public offerings, a dull market for secondary fundraisings and persistently thin equity market volumes mean the 138 brokers in the Aim market are fighting for a bigger slice of a smaller pie. Between them, they raised only £387m for flotations on the junior market in the first half of the year – suggesting there will be little improvement on the £740.4m raised during the course of 2009.
The former chief executive of scandal-hit Sibir Energy has been fined £350,000 ($529,877) by the City watchdog for failing to disclose cash payments made by the company to one of its largest shareholders, the Russian tycoon Chalva Tchigirinski, the FT says. The fine against Henry Cameron for market abuse, which will be announced on Tuesday by the FSA, brings the curtain down on a corporate intrigue surrounding what was once the biggest company on London’s Aim alternative market with a value of £2.5bn.
Those words were first uttered by Royal Mail chair Allan Leighton when he left Wal-Mart, the US owner of British supermarket-chain Asda, to take on a portfolio of directorships.
But if Leighton has gone plural how can we describe Australian businessman and former mining executive David Lenigas? Read more
H/T to reader Real Limey for this.
Background: Shares in Meldex were suspended in December 2008 as the Cambridge-based drug company told investors it was “seeking to clarify its trading and working capital position”. Read more
The number, nature and duration of the breaches demonstrate a systematic pattern of conduct evidencing a reckless disregard for the AIM Rules by Regal.
Due to the size and high profile of Regal, the breaches gave rise to significant publicity and caused considerable damage to the integrity and reputation of AIM as a whole Read more
Having been hit by a slew of bad news on Tuesday afternoon in London, things were not looking too good for shareholders in aircraft parts wholesaler Aero Inventory.
Not only is the inventory valuation issue, that saw Aero stock suspended on Monday, bigger than first thought, the company’s lenders seem to have brought the shutters down and the board is reviewing the position of its chief executive, finance director and chief operating officer. Read more
Singapore’s revamped bourse for high-growth companies, a direct rival to London’s Aim, is attracting “strong” interest from Europe and Asia, according to a senior executive of the city-state’s exchange. Catalist, formerly known as Sesdaq, was launched last month to offer high-growth companies a faster registration process and more flexible fundraising rules.
…and so long as you are on an Isle of Man Steam Packet Company vessel you should reach a self-governing, tax-lite Crown dependency smack bang in the middle of the Irish Sea.
The Isle of Man is not part of the United Kingdom and does not have membership of the EU. But it does count as North-west England in the stats department of the LSE, which is why the North-west counts as such a heavy contributor to companies listing on London’s junior stock market, AIM. Read more
Tuesday’s pre-budget report could spark a rush to exit London’s junior market. The abolition of taper relief in April next year will result in a tax rise from 10 to 18 per cent on the selling of AIM shares. Alex Henderson, tax partner at Pricewaterhouse, said: “There is a clear incentive for investors to dispose of AIM stocks before April – and there is little incentive to reinvest . . . If people rush to dispose of AIM shares, that would hurt the market immensely.”
London is emerging as the international fund-raising hub for Bollywood with the third Indian film production company in as many months looking to list on the city’s Alternative Investment Market. Pyramid Saimira Theatres, which operates one of India’s largest cinema chains, is considering a plan to raise $150m by listing a production and distribution unit in London as early as next month. The trend underscores moves by India’s film industry, the world’s most prolific with more than 1,000 productions a year, to develop a formal corporate structure to give it access to larger amounts of capital.
The billionaire US investor Wilbur Ross has warned that London’s AIM market is “dangerous” for investors because of its lower corporate governance standards. “I’m certainly not saying that Aim should be done away with, but there is a risk when you have materially lower standards, that you’ll attract the wrong kinds of people”, Mr Ross told the FT. He also said the private equity boom might be a bubble that could contribute to a sharp rise in corporate bankruptcies over the next few years.
The spat between the London Stock Exchange and its American rivals is getting silly. In its latest news release — a thoroughly up-beat pre-close period trading statement — the LSE has taken to referring its junior AIM market as “the world’s most successful market for smaller companies.”
Is it? Roel Campos, the SEC commissioner who recently claimed his words had been taken out of context when he suggested AIM was little more than a casino, might disagree — as might John Thain, the New York Stock Exchange’s chief executive, who suggested AIM might be damaging the City of London’s reputation. Read more
Ed Balls, City minister, will on Wednesday mount a vigorous defence of the Aim market, calling recent criticism from a US Securities and Exchange Commission policymaker “unwarranted and inaccurate”. In a speech at a Merrill Lynch conference today, Mr Balls will argue that Aim exists to “fill a niche”, providing capital for small, growing companies that have outgrown the venture capital stage, and will note that the failure rate for its companies differs little from the main London market. Mr Balls’ comments mark the first official government response to remarks earlier this month by Roel Campos an SEC commissioner, who reportedly described Aim as a “casino”.
RAB Capital has decided not to move from Aim to the main London market even though it would have been a member of the FTSE 350 index and be able to attract investors who cannot invest in Aim stocks. The second-biggest UK listed hedge fund operator after FTSE 100 member Man Group said it had “no current intention” of leaving Aim as it reported a doubling of assets under management, revenue, pre-tax profit and dividend. Philip Richards, chief executive, said the tax breaks for individual investors in Aim shares, together with lighter reporting requirements, made that market more attractive while liquidity in the shares had been good. The decision comes in spite of US criticism of Aim regulations, with one senior US regulator likening the market to a “casino”. Mr Richards said the listing would remain under review.
Clara Furse, the LSE’s chief executive, has struck out in an increasingly acrimonious debate between US and UK exchange executives over the recent surge in foreign listings in London, saying US capital markets ought to come to terms with the success of Aim, the LSE’s junior market and stop “navel-gazing based on the dubious premise that the US is ‘the home of capitalism’,”. In a letter published in Tuesday’s FT, Ms Furse responds to comments by Neal Wolkoff, chief executive of the American Stock Exchange, who, in an earlier letter to the FT, cited the growing burdens of US regulations on the ability of Aim to compete for listings. In barbed language, Ms Furse takes Americans to task for failing to see that the merits of capital markets outside the US account for their success, rather than the home-grown deficiencies of those within it.