Half of AIM-listed firms expect acquisition within a year

Two-thirds of the 152 companies surveyed by accountants Smith & Williamson believe that being on AIM has been good for business, with acquisition and fundraising plans remaining surprisingly robust.

Seventy-two per cent of respondents are considering making an acquisition, with around half (52 per cent) of the total sample group expecting to do so within a year. 

The survey also reveals that companies of all sizes are keen to make further acquisitions, most notably:

  • Over three quarters (82 per cent) of respondent companies with a market capitalisation of between £5m and £25m plan to make an acquisition at some stage
  • Just under half (46 per cent) of participants worth between £50m and £100m anticipate making an acquisition in the next six months.

 “AIM has continued to deliver its promise of providing follow-on money to well-managed, performing companies as evidenced by the £3.7bn of further money raised on AIM last year, which has enabled companies to fund their expansion plans, through acquisitions or organically, during the very difficult market conditions,” said Azhic Basirov, head of capital markets at Smith & Williamson. 

Fundraising has also been strong – around £4.3bn was raised on AIM in 2011, though this was heavily weighted for further fundraising (£3.7bn) rather than new admissions (£0.6bn). Fully two-thirds of companies plan to raise further finance on AIM.

While 43 per cent of respondents are looking to raise less than £5m, 26 per cent wish to raise between £5m and £20m. Another seven per cent of participants are considering funding of between £20m and £50m or more.

“Given the general market conditions, the question is whether these levels of fundraising are a wish-list or reality,” says Azhic.

The good news is that seven in ten respondents are positive about the outlook for their own business in the coming year, only slightly down from eight in ten last year.

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