Volution loses ground after share sale debut

Michael Bow
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THE BRITISH engineering firm hailed by David Cameron earlier this year fell on its stock market debut yesterday, joining the ranks of companies to dip on their first trading day.

Volution Group, which owns flagship ventilation engineering group Vent-Axia, closed down three per cent at 145p. Shares were priced at 150p.

Numerous London floats have fallen on their market debut this year, including Card Factory, Saga and Pets at Home.

The group, which makes ventilation fans, hit the headlines earlier this year when the Prime Minister paid a visit to its Crawley plant after it transferred jobs back from a factory in China.

About one-third of the company was sold to investors through the stock market sale for £100m, giving the company a market cap of £300m.

Towerbrook, its private equity owner, will take £28m and the rest will go to the business to pay off debt. Towerbrook has diluted its stake to 61.4 per cent.

Chief executive Ronnie George has also sold shares, according to the prospectus, cutting his stake from 4.9 per cent to 2.8 per cent.

Volution will hoping for a better reaction when shares begin formal trading on Monday.

The air conditioning group will trade under the stock market ticker FAN, mirroring another new float this year, bakery Patisserie Valerie, which is trading under the ticker CAKE.

The group’s Vent Axia division has a rich engineering history, having been founded by the inventor of the ventilation fan Joe Akester in Putney in 1936.

It had an earlier brush with a Prime Minister during the Second World War, when it installed ventilation fans for wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill at 10 Downing Street.


1 Neil Patel, an investment banker at Liberum, is also a dedicated supporter of Southampton Football Club.

2 He joined six months ago from Espirito Santo and is responsible for corporate broking and advisory services in the UK. He previously spent 12 years at UBS Investment Bank.

3 He graduated from the University of Warwick in 2000 with a Bsc in economics. He has worked predominately with FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 companies.

Also advising...

Canaccord Genuity is sponsor and joint bookrunner with Colin Christie, Piers Coombs Peter Stewart and Chris Connors on the ticket. Along with Patel, Liberum has Peter Tracey, Richard Bootle and Thomas Bective on the deal. PR is handled by Brunswick.

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